As a former state legislator, gubernatorial candidate and official with the General Accountability Office, State Budget Solutions President Bob Williams is a national expert in fiscal and tax policies.  Each week, he compiles the latest news and headlines pertaining to state budgets, collective bargaining and state public pensions into The Williams Report.  Bob's full biography can be found here.


Featured Content


Governor orders more transparency on fiscal funds. Idaho Reporter



Unfunded retiree health care costs increase to $64.6 billion - an increase of $730 million over the last year. L.A. Times



House Speaker Madigan's broken pension promise. Illinois Policy Institute




State Budgets

Updates this week:

Rich States, Poor States. American Legislative Exchange Council

State reliance on federal spending growing at an alarming rate. Washington Examiner. April 15, 2014

Arizona: Governor signs $9.2 billion fiscal 2015 budget, but vetoes millions of dollars in items she deemed unnecessary. Arizona Republic

State General Fund is expected to have $202 million shortfall in FY 2016. Arizona Journal

Kentucky: Governor vetoes parts of Kentucky budget bill. Lawmakers will return on April 14 to consider overriding the Governor’s vetoes. Lexington Herald-Leader

Maine: $32 million budget fix sent to Governor. Associated Press

Massachusetts: House unveils $36.2 billion budget. Boston Globe

New Jersey: S&P turns thumb down on Governor Christie’s budgets, downgrades bond rating

Virginia: Senate passes budget with private health care option, but spending plan is not likely to go anywhere in the House. Richmond Times-Dispatch

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Updates this week:

85% of public pensions could fail in 30 years. Influential and well-regarded hedge fund Bridgewater Associates Wednesday warns public pensions are likely to achieve 4% returns on their assets, or worse. If Bridgewater is right, that means 85% of public pension funds will be going bankrupt in three decades. Bridgewater came to these conclusions by stress testing the nation's public pension plans, much the way banks need to be evaluated on what could happen given a wide range out outcomes. USA Today

California: The truth about public pensions in California. LA Times

Florida: Speaker Weatherford's pension reform showing life, but time is running out. On April 10, the Senate's Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee approved SB 1114 by a 7-2 vote. Hours later, the House's Appropriations Committee approved HB 7173 by a 16-10 party line vote. The two bills are similar and resurrect a bill from last year by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby. Essentially, it encourages employees to enroll in investment plans instead of the state's pension plan. Miami Herald

Rhode Island: RI pension case will go forward in court; mediation fails. 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." Providence Journal 

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