Lisa's Feed
Apr 26, 2011

U.S. states face growing pension gaps

WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) – U.S. states are short
$1.26 trillion in paying for public employee pensions and other
retirement benefits, a gap that grew 26 percent in one year and
will take many more years to wipe out, according to a report
released on Tuesday.

A total of 31 states had pensions that were underfunded in
fiscal 2009, the latest year for which data is available, up
from 22 states a year earlier, the Pew Center on the States
reported.

Apr 21, 2011

Analysis: Pension funds try to get rates right

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A testy exchange between a congressman and a governor at a U.S. congressional hearing last week highlighted an issue few Americans ever ponder: rates of return on public pension investments.

“If somebody told me they expected to get an 8 to 8.5 percent return I’d say they were probably smoking those maple leaves,” Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah told Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, which is renowned for its maple trees.

Apr 21, 2011

Public pension fund assets nearly $3 trillion: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The assets held by state and local government pension funds rose to $2.93 trillion in 2010, a 35 percent increase from their lowest point during the financial crisis, two national associations said on Thursday.

“Rising capital markets, strong long-term investment returns, and actions by many states to preserve or restore the affordability and sustainability of their pension plans have all played a role,” said the National Association of State Retirement Administrators and National Council on Teacher Retirement in a special brief on the funds’ improving health.

Apr 21, 2011

US public pension fund assets nearly $3 trln-study

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) – The assets held by state
and local government pension funds rose to $2.93 trillion in
2010, a 35 percent increase from their lowest point during the
financial crisis, two national associations said on Thursday.

“Rising capital markets, strong long-term investment
returns, and actions by many states to preserve or restore the
affordability and sustainability of their pension plans have
all played a role,” said the National Association of State
Retirement Administrators and National Council on Teacher
Retirement in a special brief on the funds’ improving health.

Apr 20, 2011

States in budget paradox: more money, more gaps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Many states are facing a paradox as they prepare for a new fiscal year: their revenues are improving but they still have budget shortfalls, the National Conference of State Legislatures said on Tuesday.

Most states begin their next fiscal year in July, and the group representing state lawmakers found at least 31 states and Puerto Rico expect shortfalls that total $86.1 billion.

Apr 19, 2011

Revenue up for U.S. states, down for cities

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) – The financial picture of
U.S. states brightened further early his year as revenue
collections grew, but at the local level it remained dim,
largely due to the continuing effects of the housing bust,
according to data from an independent research group released
on Tuesday.

Overall state collections increased 9.5 percent in January
and February from the same months the year before, according to
the Rockefeller Institute’s preliminary data.

Apr 19, 2011

In most states, job markets show signs of life

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Employment steadily improved in most U.S. states in March, and jobless rates dipped in states that had posted record highs just a few months ago, according to government data released on Tuesday.

Unemployment rates fell in 34 states in March from February. Only seven states saw rates rise, while rates in nine states and the District of Columbia were unchanged, a Labor Department report showed.

Apr 15, 2011

States, cities brace for budget deal cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The budget deal the Congress passed late Thursday and that President Barack Obama is expected to sign on Friday has state and local governments worried they may have to make up for cuts in some federal programs.

The resolution to keep the government running for the rest of fiscal year 2011 reduced Community Development Block Grants by 16 percent.

Apr 14, 2011

Public employee fight comes to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Political skirmishing in U.S. states about public employees spread to Washington on Thursday, as members of the House of Representatives came to verbal fisticuffs over collective bargaining and a pair of wealthy brothers.

The most visible figure in the battle over unions, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, told a hearing on states’ budget crises his recent policies to curb collective bargaining and change compensation have been “truly progressive.”

Apr 7, 2011

States, territories anxious about long shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As a federal government shutdown looms, U.S. states and territories are anxious about the effects on their vulnerable economies if the interruption stretches for a long time.

A prolonged shutdown could slow the flow of cash from the federal government, which would leave states with stretched budgets scrambling.