Paying for Promises

Source: Jonathan Walters, Governing, Vol. 20 no. 5, February 2007

Call it the six stages of GASB 45: anger, denial, sorrow, acceptance, study and action. That’s been the general response to a new set of governmental accounting rules that ask state and local governments to spell out the costs of their promises to provide retired employees with health care as well as other post-employment benefits.

A New Look at Long-Term Labor Force Projections to 2050

Source: Mitra Toossi, Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 129 no. 11, November 2006

Among the factors affecting the size, composition, and growth of the labor force over the next 50 years are the aging of the baby-boom generation, the stabilization of women’s labor force participation rates, and increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the workforce. The 2005-50 period is projected to witness the massive exit of the baby-boom generation out of the labor force, bringing to an end one of the major drivers of labor force growth over the post-World War II period.

Do Truly Comparable Public and Private Sector Workers Show and Compensation Differential?

Source: Josefa Ramoni-Perazzi and Don Bellante, Journal of Labor Studies, Vol. 28 no. 1, Winter 2007

Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we apply propensity score matching methods to examine evidence on the rent paid to public sector workers in the United States. Traditionally, wage differentials are computed assuming that workers from both public and private sectors are comparable, without actually controlling for the comparability of the units. Using this method, we are able to control for selection bias and, at the same time, select a subsample of comparable workers in terms of their conditional probability of choosing to work in the public sector on which to estimate separate wage equations.

The State of the Unions in the United States

Source: Jack Fiorito, Journal of Labor Studies, Vol. 28 no. 1, Winter 2007

Increased global competition and domestic deregulation, among other economic factors, combined to provide important external forces for change in bargaining and unions. The year 1980 also marked the beginning of a conservative turn in attitudes and national government starting with Regan’s election and followed by two Bush regimes sandwiching the Clinton administration. With the exception of the Clinton era, unions faced a more hostile central government than at any time since the nineteenth century.

State Public Health Employee Worker Shortage Report: A Civil Service Recruitment and Retention Crisis

Source: Council of State Governments, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, National Association of State Personnel Executives, 2004

In October 2002 the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE) conducted a workforce survey of all state agencies. The resulting report, “State Employee Worker Shortages: The Impending Crisis,” noted that state governments could lose more than 30 percent of their workforce to retirement, private-sector employers, and alternative careers by 2006, and that health agencies would be the hardest hit.

The findings from the CSG/NASPE workforce survey appeared to confirm the anecdotal evidence and other information that was emerging about the pending crisis in the state public health workforce. The combination of that evidence and the CSG/NASPE findings were so compelling that ASTHO concluded a broader inquiry and analysis of state public health workforce trends were warranted. Consequently, in November and December of 2003, ASTHO surveyed its members, the senior health officials of the 57 states and territories (and the District of Columbia), on a wide spectrum of workforce trends and indicators. ASTHO received responses from 37 states. This report contains the results of the survey.

White Paper: State Government Employee Health Care Benefits

Source: National Association of State Personnel Executives Healthcare Taskforce, NASPE, September 2006 (the paper can be downloaded from one of the frames on this page)

No matter how you look at healthcare, it cannot be overlooked as a huge overall expense for state governments as well as all large employers—General Motors recently announced that $1,500 of the average cost of per vehicle sold is attributed to employee healthcare costs. Starbucks spends more on employee healthcare than it does on coffee beans. In state governments, an additional 9-16 percent of total payroll goes toward providing healthcare for employees. The Central States Compensation Association reports that with an average salary of $19.16 per hour for its member state workforces, an additional average of $2.16 is spent on healthcare or 11 percent. Southeastern States Compensation Association reports a salary of $14.94 and an average of $1.98 per hour for healthcare or 13 percent. From a total compensation standpoint, healthcare trails only cash (salary, wages) as state governments largest cost factor in most states and is the most administratively complex.

The Real ID Act: National Impact Analysis

Source: National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, September 2006

On May 11, 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act (Real ID) as part of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief Act (P.L. 109-13), creating national standards for the issuance of state driver’s licenses (DLs) and identification cards (IDs). The act establishes certain standards, procedures and requirements that must be met by May 11, 2008 if state-issued DL/Ids are to be accepted as valid identification by the federal government. These standards are likely to alter long-standing state laws, regulations and practices governing the qualifications for and the production and issuance of DL/IDs in every state. They also will require substantial investments by states and the federal government to meet the objectives of the act.