Lisa's Feed
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.

Apr 6, 2011

DC mayor’s budget balanced, but hard to achieve-CFO

WASHINGTON, April 6 (Reuters) – The budget proposed by
Washington, D.C., Mayor Vince Gray for the fiscal year
beginning in October upholds the city’s commitment to “live
within its means,” its chief financial officer said on
Wednesday.

But CFO Natwar Gandhi cautioned the plan depends on
spending cuts that city leaders may not want to make.

Apr 1, 2011

U.S. wants states to reveal more about pension funding

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal board will soon propose that U.S. states disclose more about their pension funding as worries grow whether states and municipalities can pay for their employees’ pensions.

Of the longer-term problems in states’ budgets, none loom larger than underfunded pensions. Recent budget crises forced states to cut contributions to their retirement systems and the financial crisis lowered pension funds’ investment returns.

Mar 30, 2011

Federal funding needed for bridge repairs: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of bridges in the United States need major repair or replacement, and maintenance backlogs are growing amid tight federal and state budgets, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Transportation for America, a coalition of housing, business, public health and transportation organizations, said in its report that 11.5 percent, or 69,000, bridges need attention or replacement. It said more federal funding help is “essential.”