From the Media

Rhode Island adopts sweeping changes to pension system

PROVIDENCE - Despite jeers and the threat of a union lawsuit, Rhode Island lawmakers approved extensive changes yesterday to one of the nation’s most underfunded public pension systems.

The state’s heavily Democratic General Assembly defied its traditional union allies to pass the landmark changes.

Lawmakers approve Mass. pension bill

Boston Globe

BOSTON—The Massachusetts Legislature has approved an overhaul of the state's pension system that would raise the minimum retirement age for future state employees to 60.

The compromise bill was accepted Tuesday by the Senate on a 27-10 vote and later on a 149-0 vote in the House.

Medicare Part B Premiums for 2012 Lower Than Projected

Medscape Medical News

October 28, 2011 — More prudent use of medical services and tougher competition among healthcare providers has slowed the growth of Medicare spending, allowing for Part B premiums to be lower than projected, federal health officials said yesterday.

Social Security Beneficiaries to Receive 3.6% Increase

Fifty-five million Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment next year, the U.S. government said today.

The COLA increase, the first since 2009, takes effect in January. Eight million Americans participating in the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides cash assistance to the blind and disabled poor, will receive the same 3.6 percent boost.

Some reform is better than none at all

Newburyport News Editorial

Bottom line for the pension reform bill currently before the Legislature: Since changes would affect only those hired into government service after Jan. 1, 2012, anyone offered employment with the state who felt they could get a better deal elsewhere would be free to turn the job down.

Don't add to pension problem by upping cost-of-living raises

Boston Globe Editorial

MASSACHUSETTS NEEDS another round of public-pension reforms. Though Beacon Hill has made progress in curbing the worst abuses of the system, public-pension systems still have billions of dollars more in liabilities than they have money to pay for them. Bond rating agencies have made it clear that unless Beacon Hill comes to grips with the problem, the Commonwealth's ability to borrow money will suffer. And while the bill that cleared the Senate Thursday will help in several important ways, it also exacerbates the problem in others.

Foundation Urges Passage of Meaningful Pension Reforms

Mass Taxpayers Foundation Report

In a presentation to PERAC's Emerging Issues Forum and a letter to state senators, the Foundation highlights the urgency of passing legislation to reform the pension system for state and municipal employees.

Unions may cede bargain power here

Gov. Deval Patrick -- who this week appeared before throngs of union protesters in a show of support for public unions in Wisconsin -- has proposed legislation that will ask public unions here to cede some bargaining leverage to save cities and towns millions of dollars in health insurance costs, the MetroWest Daily News reports.

Tackling health costs requires coordinated effort

EDITORIAL  Gov. Deval Patrick has set the ambitious goal of reducing by $1 billion the projected health care expenditures in the next fiscal year. While there is reason to doubt whether he’ll be able to meet that target, he has followed up with concrete proposals.

GateHouse News Service Posted Feb 23, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Wage War: Government Employees vs. Everybody Else

Public Sector Protesters in Wisconsin Face a Backlash, But Are State Workers Really Overpaid?

Are public workers overpaid? Are their entitlements too cushy, their retirements too rich? How do they compare in overall compensation with their private sector peers?