The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 22, 2011
A.M. Roundup: States' bankruptcy; Calif. Dems will make cuts

The discussion is heating up over whether Congress should enact laws allowing states to declare bankruptcy -- and thus sidestep existing pension obligations. Commentaries and a radio broadcast devoted to the topic are sprinkled into this morning's roundup of news and views of interest to State Worker blog users:

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifBrown's Countdown, Day 13: Steinberg says Dems will back governor's budget-cutting goal
California Senate Democrats will back Gov. Jerry Brown's goal of chopping $12.5 billion out of the state budget as part of a deal in which voters get a crack at a tax-hike extension measure in June, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg told The Bee in an an interview Friday.

ISU research: State employees with degrees make less than private sector workers
Iowans who hold college degrees earn substantially more money if they work for private businesses instead of state government, according to Iowa State University research.

Bondholders, Unions In High-Stakes Battle Over State Bankruptcy
The oddly passive headline on the New York Times Page One story today ("A Path Is Sought For States To Escape Their Debt Burdens") obscures a very active behind-the-scenes battle in Washington.

GOP Planning Ahead To Avoid State Pension Bailouts
Republicans expect states and local governments to beg Congress for relief from their underfunded pension programs sometime soon. But unlike Congress' haphazard, expensive responses to the Wall Street and automaker crises, GOP lawmakers intend to be ready this time.

Radio show download: Should states be allowed to go bankrupt?
Bankruptcy is not an option for states, but what if it was? That's the premise of a top-emailed New York Times story this morning that has spooked investors and the market. ... With mounting pension obligations and the worst credit rating in the nation, would bankruptcy ever be a viable option for California?

UCD touts its medical impact
The University of California, Davis, Health System pumps more than $3.4 billion into the regional economy and fuels an economic engine that supports 20,000 jobs across Northern California, according to a university-commissioned study released Friday.

California Senate freezes BlackBerry, cell phone purchases
Tightening belts by targeting mouths and fingers, the state Senate is placing an indefinite freeze on buying BlackBerries and cell phones.

Oregon Ethics Commission votes to investigate travel expenses of three state investment officers
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted Friday to investigate the travel expenses of three investment officers for the Oregon Treasury, including the state's chief investment officer.

Zuckerman: Public Employee Union Benefits Are a Fiscal Disaster
State governments are in a huge hole, and they're still digging. ... They sowed the dragon seeds in the fat years by buying off service unions with generous pensions, employee contracts, healthcare, pay, and benefits.

Bloomberg Is Said To Have Erred on Strategy of Reform for New York City Pensions
Mayor Bloomberg's proposals to reduce the cost of pensions for city employees are coming under fire today not only from public employee unions, city government 's perennial adversary in matters of wages and pensions, but from a conservative analyst as well.

In a turnabout, governor breaks with unions on health care plans
For much of his first term, Governor Deval Patrick helped protect public employee unions from dramatic increases in their members' health care insurance costs. No more.

Editorial: Reject Public Worker Unions
Labor unions have enjoyed enormous influence in the West Virginia Legislature for decades. Now they are pushing for a gigantic power grab.

Nev. coalition challenges gov's no-tax raise stand
A coalition of advocacy groups released an alternative State of the State message on Friday challenging Gov. Brian Sandoval's stance to balance the budget without raising taxes or fees. ... "Governor, what sacrifices are you requiring of wealthy corporations and their fat cat lobbyists?" Bob Fulkerson, executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance, asked in a video posted on YouTube. PLAN is part of the coalition that also includes teacher and state worker unions groups and social service agencies.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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