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Unions

States employ 19 million workers - 15 percent of the nation’s workforce and six times as many workers as the federal government employs, according to the State Budget Crisis Task Force.

Salaries and benefits for those employees account for around 30 percent of the state general fund in most states. Benefits alone accounting for more than a third of that cost, meaning that about 10 percent of state general fund expenditures now go to benefits for currently employed workers, many of whom are represented by unions. The cost is growing at a rate that cannot be sustained. To have any hope of achieving fiscal health in the future, states will need to redesign their benefit systems and evaluate state employee salaries.

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    • HEADLINES: Illinois, Indiana, Maine , Massachusetts , Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina , Oklahoma

      Special Edition Williams Report July 2, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 2, 2014

      Welcome to a special edition of the Williams Report! There has been a lot of news this week: an important U.S.Supreme Court decision on unions and the end of the fiscal year in many states have been in the headlines. Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: California, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina , Pennsylvania, Washington, Louisiana, Montana, Virginia

      Williams Report - June 23, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 23, 2014

      The latest news from State Budget Solutions, including commentary from Bob Williams. Tweet #SBSBob to talk about state budget and pension headlines throughout the nation.

    • HEADLINES: Illinois

      Judge halts Illinois pension reform law

      The Chicago Tribune | by Ray Long | May 15, 2014

      Retiree groups and a union coalition called We Are One Illinois won a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in Sangamon County Circuit Court that will put the law on hold and prevent it from taking effect on June 1.

    • HEADLINES: Rhode Island

      RI pension case will go forward in court; mediation fails

      The Providence Journal | by Randal Edgar | April 11, 2014

      In a joint statement, Governor Chafee and state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo said that while they there was a strong effort to reach a mediated settlement, the rejection of that settlement "by a small group of union members" means the process "has failed and the mediation process has ended."

    • HEADLINES: Rhode Island

      Rhode Island is considering options on pension deal, Chafee says

      The Boston Globe | April 10, 2014

      Governor Lincoln Chafee said Rhode Island is considering various options on how to proceed with lawsuits brought over the state's landmark pension overhaul, after a proposed deal was rejected by members of police unions.

    • 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: 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: Wisconsin

      Benefit Reform Could Save School Districts Hundreds of Million$

      The MacIver Institute | November 29, 2011

      Public officials can help alleviate their budget crunches by offering competitive, not exorbitant benefits.

    • SOLUTIONS: Ohio

      Solving Our State Fiscal Challenges

      The Buckeye Institute | by Matt A. Mayer | November 29, 2011

      Advocating for collective bargaining reforms because unless base compensation adjustmentst happen, taxes will have to go up.

    • SOLUTIONS: Washington

      Top 10 Ideas to Cut Waste, Balance the Budget and Stimulate the Economy Without Raising Taxes

      The Freedom Foundation | by Amber Gunn | November 4, 2011

      Ten ideas to cut waste and balance the buget without raising taxes, including more efficient K-12 funding, spending high education tax dollars more wisely and rein in state employee salaries and benefits.

    • HEADLINES: Illinois, Indiana, Maine , Massachusetts , Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina , Oklahoma

      Special Edition Williams Report July 2, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | July 2, 2014

      Welcome to a special edition of the Williams Report! There has been a lot of news this week: an important U.S.Supreme Court decision on unions and the end of the fiscal year in many states have been in the headlines. Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • BLOG: Washington

      U.S. Supreme Court ruling against forced unionization of home care workers may strike down Washington state law

      by Jason Mercier | July 1, 2014

      UPDATED Although the U.S. Supreme Court did not rule in its Harris v. Quinn case today, as some had expected, on whether government workers must join a union, the decision does call into question the forced unionization of some Washington residents.

    • HEADLINES: California, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina , Pennsylvania, Washington, Louisiana, Montana, Virginia

      Williams Report - June 23, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 23, 2014

      The latest news from State Budget Solutions, including commentary from Bob Williams. Tweet #SBSBob to talk about state budget and pension headlines throughout the nation.

    • Washington

      Do you know how the current state contract negotiations are going?

      by Jason Mercier | June 11, 2014

      No? Neither do we. Realizing that potentially hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, we believe that like other budget related decisions, these meetings should be open to the public. This is exactly what already occurs in several states.

    • HEADLINES: Illinois

      Judge halts Illinois pension reform law

      The Chicago Tribune | by Ray Long | May 15, 2014

      Retiree groups and a union coalition called We Are One Illinois won a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in Sangamon County Circuit Court that will put the law on hold and prevent it from taking effect on June 1.

    • HEADLINES: Rhode Island

      RI pension case will go forward in court; mediation fails

      The Providence Journal | by Randal Edgar | April 11, 2014

      In a joint statement, Governor Chafee and state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo said that while they there was a strong effort to reach a mediated settlement, the rejection of that settlement "by a small group of union members" means the process "has failed and the mediation process has ended."

    • HEADLINES: Rhode Island

      Rhode Island is considering options on pension deal, Chafee says

      The Boston Globe | April 10, 2014

      Governor Lincoln Chafee said Rhode Island is considering various options on how to proceed with lawsuits brought over the state's landmark pension overhaul, after a proposed deal was rejected by members of police unions.

    • HEADLINES

      Some state pensions in dire straits

      USA Today | by Dustin Racioppi | March 21, 2014

      Not making payments to the pension funds, or only paying a portion of what an actuary has recommended, is largely what got these debt-burdened states to where they are today, experts say.

    • HEADLINES: New Mexico

      Governor wants NM to stop collecting union dues

      Associated Press | March 21, 2014

      Contract talks with state employee unions are at an impasse because New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez wants the state to stop collecting union dues through withdrawals from employees' paychecks, the governor said.

    • HEADLINES: California

      California Controller John Chiang proposes prefunding state retiree health care

      Sacramento Bee - State Worker | by Jon Ortiz | March 10, 2014

      A new tally of unfunded state retiree health care costs shows long-term obligations grew by hundreds of millions of dollars last year, prompting Controller John Chiang to propose a plan on Thursday to chip away at the debt..