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PENSIONS

Pensions

Unfunded pension liabilities are the dark cloud on the horizon of state budgets; a cloud totaling $4.1 trillion dollars for state-administered public pension plans, as SBS reported this year. Though they represent unavoidable fiscal debt, pension liabilities often slip under the radar when states tally up their spending, thanks to their status as "future payments" and accounting games. Aggressive pension reform is urgently needed in almost every state.

A recent group of studies by the GAO and Fed show how dire the situation really is.  Read about them here.

Courts are weighing in on what pension reform is feasible. Check out our monthly pension litigation update here.

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    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire , North Carolina , New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - July 20, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 20, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Ohio, Pennsylvania

      Williams Report - July 14, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 14, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington

      Williams Report - July 8, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 8, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire , New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington

      Williams Report - July 1, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 1, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine , Massachusetts , Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire , New Jersey, New York, North Carolina , Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - June 23, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 23, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • RESEARCH

      Look Out For These Pension Gimmicks

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito, Bob Williams | April 15, 2015

      States have a few tricks up their sleeves to hide true pension liabilities.

    • RESEARCH

      Promises Made, Promises Broken 2014: Unfunded Liabilities Hit $4.7 Trillion

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | November 12, 2014

      State Budget Solutions' latest research reveals that state public pension plans are underfunded by $4.7 trillion, up from $4.1 trillion in 2013. Overall, the combined plans' funded status has dipped three percentage points to 36%. Split among all Americans, the unfunded liability is over $15,000 per person. 

       

    • POLICY BRIEF: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York

      Constitutional Public Pension Guarantees: Unfair, Unaffordable, and Bad Policy

      The Manhattan Institute | by Stephen D. Eide | August 22, 2013

       

      Seven states have specific clauses in their constitutions that protect public employee pensions: Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and New York. These seven states hold 20 percent of state governments' total pension debt, and many billions more in local pension debt. These states should amend their constitutions to remove language guaranteeing pension benefits for public workers.

    • RESEARCH

      The Funding of State and Local Pensions: 2012–2016

      The Center for State and Local Government Excellence | by Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, Josh Hurwitz, and Madeline Medenica | June 27, 2013

      Despite a rising stock market, the rebound in tax revenues, and increased employee contributions, the funded status of state and local pensions in 2012 declined slightly.

    • RESEARCH

      Public Sector Pension Reform: Addressing Pressing Fiscal Realities from a Long-Term Perspective

      TIAA-CREF Institute | by Thomas L. Gais and Paul J. Yakoboski | June 17, 2013

      There are persistent fiscal and demographic challenges in most states. The public sector workforce is aging as the baby boom cohort moves towards and into traditional retirement ages. Budgetary pressures at the state and local level make it difficult to increase plan funding and maintain the size of the public sector workforce.

    • SOLUTIONS: Kentucky

      Future Shock Solutions

      The Bluegrass Institute | by Lowell Reese | April 8, 2013

      The goal is to enact systemic change and create a climate for long-term solvency for Kentucky's public pensions. This requires changing the very structure of the system while providing the minimum amount of one-time immediate funding to stave off bankruptcy in the state employees’ fund. Steps also must be taken to set in place policies that will enable the commonwealth to avoid such pension crises in the future.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Why government employee collective bargaining laws must be reformed now

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | December 5, 2012

      There are three important lessons from the Wisconsin collective bargaining battles over the past eighteen months:

      1. The power of the government-sector unions and their impact on elections is greatly overestimated. With the November 2012 victory for  Senate Republicans to regain control of the Wisconsin Senate,  government employee union  suffered their sixth  major defeat since March 2011.

      2. When given a choice, government employees will quit their union in large numbers.

      3. Government employees' salaries and benefits, particularly pensions, are financially unsustainable in most states and collective bargaining reform is needed.

    • SOLUTIONS

      How to Prevent Future Pension Crises

      by Cory Eucalitto | November 1, 2012

      The time for state and local governments to offer defined contribution retirement plans that protect both taxpayer dollars and public employee retirement security is now.

    • SOLUTIONS: California

      Reform Before Revenue: How to Fix California's Retiree Health-Care Problem

      The Manhattan Institute | by Stephen D. Eide | October 31, 2012

      This paper examines the ongoing fiscal crisis caused by health-care plans for retirees (known as "other post-employment benefits," or OPEB) in one of the hardest-hit states, California, and outlines necessary reforms that should come before tax increases or cuts to government services.

    • SOLUTIONS: California

      Rising Pension Costs Threaten Cities’ Ability to Provide Services

      Hoover Institution of Stanford University | by Chuck Reed | October 16, 2012

      In June 2012, nearly 70% of San Jose voters approved "Measure B" - a set of pension reforms that the City Council placed on the ballot after more than 8 months of negotiations with our employee unions.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire , North Carolina , New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - July 20, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 20, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts , New Hampshire , Ohio, Pennsylvania

      Williams Report - July 14, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 14, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts , Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington

      Williams Report - July 8, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 8, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire , New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington

      Williams Report - July 1, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 1, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine , Massachusetts , Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire , New Jersey, New York, North Carolina , Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - June 23, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 23, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Alabama, Kansas, Massachusetts , Michigan, New Hampshire , Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania

      Williams Report - June 13, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 13, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Ohio

      For Many States, Now Is the Day of Reckoning

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 5, 2015

      Across the country, in statehouses nationwide, the day of reckoning has arrived.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Alaska, California, Iowa, Maine , New Hampshire , South Carolina, Texas, Washington, New Jersey, Nevada

      Williams Report - June 3, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 3, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts , Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire , New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania

      Williams Report - May 20, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | May 20, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina , Oklahoma, South Carolina, Illinois, Oregon

      Williams Report - May 13, 2015

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | May 13, 2015

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.