Has Scranton finally hit rock bottom?

Scranton, PA’s long-running fiscal crisis may now be coming to a head now that a court has struck down its bid to levy a commuter tax. But to hear the City Solicitor Jason Shrive tell it, the Electric City has become the municipal equivalent of …

The legal landscape of forced dues

One of the major Supreme Court cases of last term, Harris v. Quinn, has spawned other cases challenging forced dues or agency fee payments in the public sector as a violation of non-union member employees’ First Amendment rights. At the top of the list is Friedrichs v. …

Sparse ballot year for pension reform initiatives

This is a busy campaign season, given congressional mid-term elections and 36 governor races. State ballots are also full of direct democracy votes, a total of 148 initiatives of one sort or another according to Ballotpedia. But distinctly missing from ballots at the state level are any pension or government labor reform measures…

In Rhode Island, running for governor and from fiscal reality

Rhode Island’s gubernatorial candidates Gina Raimondo and Allan Fung have been crisscrossing the state suggesting creative solutions to the economic challenges facing the Ocean State. However, they have not been as creative in proposing fiscally responsible ways to pay for them.
If any state could benefit …

Problem not just costs, but mentality of public sector

I cannot figure out why many of our fellow citizens want more aspects of our lives to be controlled by the government. As someone who spends my days watching and writing about government, I sometimes go home with a splitting headache and the need for …

Taxpayers don’t have a chance in the way CalPERS is run

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System may be the nation’s largest state pension fund, basically a government agency with the ability to impose enormous debts on the state’s taxpayers, but those taxpayers don’t even have a minimal say in how it’s run. We can complain …

To hedge or not to hedge

The $300 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), America’s largest public pension fund, is eliminating its $4 billion stake in hedge funds due to their “complexity, cost, and the lack of ability to scale,” the fund’s interim chief investment officer has just announced. But the …

GOP’s Fung has his own R.I. pension reform story

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s victory in the Sept. 9 Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial primary has attracted a lot of national attention (see here, here and here, for instance) in large part because of her successful state pension reforms. But her Republican opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, has his own retirement reforms to tout in a state where municipalities have been under severe pressures from rising retirement costs, too…

Pay to play in PA: Why not bribery as a tool for pension reform?

If you mine down into Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s recent pension report, you can find some gems hidden among the recommendations that I believe risk creating a “financial super-fund site.”  With a few minor tweaks, DePasquale’s proposal could be turned into a robust model …

Raimondo wins gubernatorial primary in RI

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo won the Rhode Island Democratic Party’s nomination for governor yesterday. It was a hard fought race, where public sector unions, who were angry about a pension reform measure she engineered in 2011, backed her opponents.  Her victory is something of a referendum …