Lisa's Feed
Jun 23, 2012

U.S. public workers say organized labor at a turning point

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – As America’s biggest state and local government employees’ union gathered here this week, it faced obstacles like never before. After a big defeat in Wisconsin, and under pressure to accept cuts in jobs, pay, pensions and benefits, it needed to give convincing answers.

Lee Saunders, who became the union’s first African American president on Friday, said the fight was “just getting started.” He said the mission for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was to save nothing less than organized labor itself.

Jun 18, 2012

U.S. public retiree benefits gap grows to $1.38 trillion

By Lisa Lambert and Hilary Russ

(Reuters) – The funding gap for U.S. state public employee retirement benefits climbed by $120 billion to $1.38 billion in fiscal 2010, according to a report released on Monday.

The report comes at a time when many voters and politicians already claim that compensation for public employees is bloated.

Jun 18, 2012

US public retiree benefits gap grows to $1.38 trln

June 18 (Reuters) – The funding gap for U.S. state public
employee retirement benefits climbed by $120 billion to $1.38
billion in fiscal 2010, according to a report released on
Monday.

The report comes at a time when many voters and politicians
already claim that compensation for public employees is bloated.

Jun 18, 2012

New U.S. union chief to face war over benefits

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – When the largest U.S. union for public sector employees elect its first new president in a generation next week it will be a watershed moment. The new chief will be running an organization whose members are fighting almost unprecedented cuts in jobs, benefits, bargaining rights – and increasingly angry taxpayers who question the size of their pension and healthcare benefits.

With many U.S. states, cities and counties struggling to balance their budgets and facing big pension and health care funding deficits, employee costs are the obvious target. Underlining its problems, the labor movement was defeated in a recall election in the state of Wisconsin earlier this month when voters sided with Republican Governor Scott Walker, who had taken bold moves to limit union collective bargaining powers.

Jun 15, 2012

State jobless rates drop, raise election stakes

By Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – Jobless rates in 49 out of the 50 U.S. states dropped in May from a year earlier, the Labor Department said on Friday, raising the stakes in a presidential contest where job creation is the top issue.

Only New York’s rate rose from May 2011, to 8.6 percent. Compared with April, jobless rates were higher in 18 states, lower in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and unchanged in 18 states.

Jun 12, 2012

U.S. state revenues recover but budgets still tight

By Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – U.S. states are remaining tight-fisted with spending even though their revenues are expected to top the levels reached before the recession, unnerved by the clouds over the U.S. and global economies.

For the upcoming 2013 fiscal year, total U.S. state revenues will increase by $27.4 billion, or 4.1 percent, to reach $690.3 billion. General fund spending, however, will rise by only $14.6 billion, or 2.2 percent, according to a survey of governors’ budgets released on Tuesday.

Jun 12, 2012

Revenues recover but states still tight-fisted

By Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – States are remaining tight-fisted over spending even as their revenues are expected to top the levels seen before the height of the recession, unnerved by the clouds over the U.S. and global economies.

For the upcoming 2013 fiscal year, total U.S. state revenues will increase by $27.4 billion, or 4.1 percent, to reach $690.3 billion. General fund spending, however, will rise by only $14.6 billion, or 2.2 percent, according to a survey of governors’ budgets released on Tuesday.

Jun 1, 2012

Muni board seeks to make posted trade info more exact

June 1 (Reuters) – The board that writes the rules for the
$3.7 trillion municipal bond market is trying to give all
investors equal access to trade information.

The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board on Friday said it
was accepting comments through July 2 on changes in posting the
exact par amounts in trades with par value equal to more than $1
million. The change would eliminate a five-day window when those
large trades are posted simply as “1MM+” on the MSRB’s web site,
EMMA.

May 18, 2012

U.S. swing states’ jobless rates dive in April

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jobless rates in all but two U.S. states dropped in April from a year before, and were sharply lower in battleground states that could decide November’s presidential contest.

Sharp drops in unemployment rates were registered in Florida, Nevada and Ohio, while joblessness in Michigan, a key state in the election four years ago, hit its lowest since 2008.

May 15, 2012

Analysis: State income up in April, but may not be enough

By Lisa Lambert and Karen Pierog

(Reuters) – Personal income tax collections in states in April might have grown an average of more than 7 percent, but for some the increase may not be enough to ease budget crises.

Reuters found that the average increase of personal income tax collections in April 2012 from April 2011 for the 20 states for which data is available was 7.3 percent.