Paying bills late, selling buildings and swiping money from special accounts are some of the gimmicks states are using to bypass balanced budget requirements, according to a new report on the tricks being used to paper over deep deficits.
From California to New Hampshire, state governments are using smoke and mirrors instead of cash to meet the constitutional or statutory mandates that they finish their fiscal years with balanced budgets, according to research from State Budget Solutions, a non-partisan group that monitors state spending.
State Budget Solutions is a known expert in fiscal responsibility and pension reform. Every month, countless media outlets and financial professionals cite the work of SBS's expert analysis and publish the opinions of SBS leaders. Here are a few highlights from February:
On pensions, don't betray Oklahoma's public retirees The Oklahoman Imagine that you invest decades in public service working a state job and serving your community. You earned a fair, not exorbitant, salary. You chose public service, in part, to secure a decent retirement for your family and trusted that promises made will be kept. That monthly pension check is the cornerstone of your retirement plan. But then imagine a day when those pension checks just stop. You are left high and dry. READ MORE
Utah begins preparing for the day if/when federal funds less available Idaho Reporter llinois’ worst-in-the-nation pension systems alone owe at least $130 billion, but now comes a new warning about the high cost of simply managing that debt.READ MORE
State watch: New Jersey's pension money pit The Trentonian Experts who look into the finances of New Jersey’s public-employee pension plans often wind up making the same observation. READ MORE
The Williams Report
As a former state legislator, gubernatorial candidate and auditor with the Government Accountability Office, State Budget Solutions' President Bob Williams is a national expert in fiscal and tax policies. Each week, he compiles the latest news and headlines pertaining to state budgets, collective bargaining and state public pensions into The Williams Report.
IDAHO: Governor Otter magic: Turning $140 million and 6 percent into $104 million and 3.7 percent. Idaho Freedom Foundation
CALIFORNIA: Governor says longer living state workers will drive pension costs up $1.2 billion a year. Governor urges CalPERS to move quickly to address this issue. The Sacramento Bee
FLORIDA: Speaker Weatherford returns for another showdown on pensions. Florida Times-Union