Lisa's Feed
Sep 30, 2011

Analysis: Move to new plans may not save public pensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – To fix their persistent pension problems, some states are looking to reshape their retirement plans to resemble those in the private sector, but they may find may employees resistant and the savings elusive.

Over the last few decades, the private sector has ditched traditional pension plans with their defined benefits. They have been replaced with defined contribution accounts, such as 401(k)s, in which employees allocate a set amount each month to invest — often partly matched by employers — and then cash out at retirement.

Sep 29, 2011

Public pensions get a lift from stocks: Census

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Public pensions, stung by the financial crisis and government cutbacks, have enjoyed steadily improving investments for nearly two years, mostly due to stocks, U.S. Census data released on Thursday showed.

In the second quarter of 2011, public pensions’ total holdings and investments rose for the fourth quarter in a row to the highest level since the middle of 2008, the Census said. From the quarter before, they rose 1.3 percent to $2.8 trillion. And from the year before, they jumped 17.6 percent to $2.4 trillion.

Sep 29, 2011

U.S. public pensions get a lift from stocks-Census

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Public pensions, stung by
the financial crisis and government cutbacks, have enjoyed
steadily improving investments for nearly two years, mostly
due to stocks, U.S. Census data released on Thursday showed.

In the second quarter of 2011, public pensions’ total
holdings and investments rose for the fourth quarter in a row
to the highest level since the middle of 2008, the Census
said. From the quarter before, they rose 1.3 percent to $2.8
trillion. And from the year before, they jumped 17.6 percent
to $2.4 trillion.

Sep 27, 2011

U.S. cities’ fiscal pain may become chronic: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Fiscal pain for cities grew more acute this year and will likely become a chronic problem in many places, according to a survey of civic officials released on Tuesday.

The National League of Cities, which represents city leaders across the country, said finance officers are growing accustomed to a “new normal,” defined by lower property values and declining home sales.

Sep 26, 2011

Radian looking to form mutual bond insurance co

Sept 26 (Reuters) – Radian Group Inc is looking to
form a new public finance mutual bond insurance company with the
National League of Cities (NLC) in the hope of re-igniting a
sector that burned out during the financial crisis.

NLC, a non-profit organization that represents civic leaders
from across the country, has sought a collective form of
insurance to replace the models that faltered during the credit
crunch and to help small issuers.

Sep 23, 2011

Obama to loosen U.S. education law, cites flaws

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on
Friday announced steps to roll back key provisions of “No Child
Left Behind,” calling the decade-old U.S. education law
admirable but flawed.

The law, signed by President George W. Bush in 2002, was
intended to hold schools and states accountable for students’
performance, as measured by annual testing.

Sep 16, 2011

Jobless rates in 20 states top national rate in August

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jobless rates in 20 states were above the national rate of 9.1 percent in August, with Nevada’s level springing up to 13.4 percent, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Nevada’s rate, the highest in the nation, rose from 12.9 percent in July. That was still lower than the peak of 14.9 percent it reached in April 2010 and maintained through December 2010.

Sep 16, 2011

US municipal market shrinks for two straight qtrs

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The size of the U.S.
municipal bond market shrank to $2.89 trillion in the second
quarter of 2011 from $2.91 trillion in the first quarter,
Federal Reserve data showed on Friday.

It was the second quarterly contraction in a row, although
the level of outstanding debt remains above $2.84 trillion in
the second quarter of 2010.

Sep 15, 2011

Take it public: group offers novel US retirement route

WASHINGTON, Sept 15 (Reuters) – A flood of U.S. retirement
is threatening to burst its dam and drown aging Americans with
rising living costs, but one group is proposing a novel way to
protect private-sector workers: invest in public pension
plans.

The National Conference on Public Employee Retirement
Systems proposed “the secure choice pension,” to allow small-
to medium-sized firms to buy into public retirement funds.

Sep 8, 2011

States to pay unemployment bills, taxes could rise

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – States will start sending more than $1 billion to the federal government in coming weeks for loans used to pay unemployment benefits and some may have to raise business tax bills to cover the charges.

The 2009 economic stimulus plan made it easier for states to borrow from the federal government to pay benefits for unemployed workers, easing the strain on their budgets as revenue cratered and high numbers of residents filed for assistance during the recession.