The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 12, 2012
AM Reading: Pension math; RI considers lifting public office ban; FL drug-test bill goes to Gov. Rick Scott

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCA: Dan Walters: Two tales of pension accounting
Major corporations that still maintain traditional defined-benefit pension plans are asking Congress to lower their pension trust fund contributions because, they say, extraordinarily low interest rates force them to sock away too much. (Sacramento Bee)

RI: RI bill would let state workers hold public office
A bill winding its way through the Rhode Island legislature would end a 73-year-old ban on state employees running for public office or serving on a state employee grievances board. (AP / Boston Globe)

CA: Past pension boosts deferred costs
The recent loss of tens of billions of dollars from California's public pension funds may have raised awareness about the high cost of guaranteed benefits for public workers, but reform advocates say the unsustainable system has been years - or even decades - in the making. (AP / Sacramento Bee)

Highlights of California's pension history
Gov. Jerry Brown has made pension reform a top priority this year as he asks state lawmakers for sweeping repairs on a system widely seen as unsustainable, broken and abused. (AP / San Francisco Chronicle)

Florida passes bill to test state workers for drugs
Florida lawmakers on Friday approved a measure allowing state agency heads to randomly test employees for illegal drugs, sending the bill to Governor Rick Scott, who is expected to sign it. (Reuters)

Daniel Borenstein: Martinez pension spike scheme costing other California local governments
In yet another gaming of a California public employee retirement system, Martinez City Council members have preserved a lucrative police pension spike by sticking hundreds of other local governments with much of the cost. (Mercury News)

US: Corrections firm offers states cash for prisons
The nation's largest private prison company made an enticing offer to 48 states that went something like this: We will buy your prison now if you agree to keep it mostly full and promise to pay us for running it over the next two decades. Despite a need for cash, several states immediately slammed the door on the offer, a sign that privatizing prisons might not be as popular as it once was. (AP / Sacramento Bee)

ME: Separate system for new workers?
The state's 70-year-old pension system may soon be retired. After dealing with decades of underfunding and the 2008 stock market crash, lawmakers are considering freezing enrollment in the $10 billion retirement system. (Kennebec Journal)

SC: Bill filed to make pensions public state workers' info kept secret
Many pension records now kept secret would become open to the public under a bill filed in the S.C. Senate this week. (The Item)

OR: 'Match' pensions choke budgets
Oregon has certainly done right by Helmuth Resch. Resch spent 16 years as a professor at Oregon State University's College of Forestry. When he departed in 1987 to take a job at the State University of New York, he left something important behind: his pension account. (AP / Statesman Journal)

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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


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