House GOP floats its own pension gimmick

If there were any doubt whatsoever that pensions and politicians are a bad mix, just take a look at the maneuver that Republicans in the NoGimmicksHouse of Representatives are proposing to help bail out the nation’s troubled Highway Trust Fund. The proposal, coming at a time when state and local budgets are getting squeezed in many places thanks to a pension crisis prompted by similar moves, is a reminder that no amount of bad experience will deter politicians from the next fiscal gimmick, if they can use it to put off tough decisions…

How will bankruptcy judge handle Stockton’s pension debt?

The San Joaquin County Taxpayers’ Association reminds us that Stockton’s bankruptcy is in its final days, and points toward a letter it sent to Judge Christopher Klein in April. It makes the following point:
“While common sense suggest that any budget cannot be contained without reducing …

CalPERS deal protects the wealthiest, harms services for a poor city

You can’t really blame the bankrupt city of San Bernardino for rolling over in the face of the powerful California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), by agreeing to a deal to repay $13.5 million in back payments plus interest and penalties. The deal is still …

Could Obamacare prevent future municipal bankruptcies?

Yes, but only if liberal judges get out of the way.
Last week, as the media focused most of its attention on the US Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision and the Vergara ruling in California, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a decision that could …

Sorting through Alabama’s pension system

A recent paper of mine entitled, “Pension Reform in Alabama: A Case for Economic Accounting,” published by the Johnson Center at Troy University, took a look at the financials of Alabama’s Retirement System – the RSA, which manages and administers three pension plans for public …

Detroit pension debt under any other name is still…

… debt. That’s what Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr and city officials contend in their lawsuit which seeks to overturn a 2005 financial maneuver that pumped $1.44 billion into the city’s pension system.Playing hardball, Detroit has now subpoenaed The Bond Buyer trade publication, seeking records related to the publication’s subsequent decision to award the administration of then mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the highly controversial transaction the Midwest Deal of the Year in 2005. Alas, there are a few others the city is probably also talking to who took bows back then for the deal…

Why Harris v. Quinn is good for Connecticut home healthcare workers

Harris v. Quinn will allow some Connecticut home healthcare workers to get a raise this year. Instead of the $1.5 million appropriated for wage increases going toward union dues, workers can decide whether the union is earning its keep before cutting a check.
SEIU 1199 charges full-time workers two …

Scotus’ Illinois ruling may threaten SEIU California

After courts in California ruled that home health care workers in the state paid with Medicaid funds were no longer independent contractors but now public employees, SEIU began a long effort to organize them which culminated in the union in 1999 signing up 74,000 Los …

Public sector unions dodge a bullet

Public sector unions dodged a big bullet today that would have reduced their membership rolls and financial resources. The Supreme Court decided, 5-4, in Harris v. Quinn not to overturn Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), the precedent that underpins “fair share” fee collection …

Bid to privatize way out of Illinois pension mess

Communities around Illinois face a pension cliff next year, when a new state law forces them to contribute dramatically more to their pension systems. One solution that some are investigating: privatizing even essential services like fire protection. A handful of municipalities in Illinois are considering …