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State Net Capitol Journal: WV Commits to Paying Down Pension Debt

West Virginia's unfunded pension liability - estimated at $10 billion last year - is one of the highest per capita in the nation. But the state became a standout on the issue in a very different way last month when lawmakers approved legislation proposed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) - SB 469 - dedicating...

State Net Capitol Journal: CT Pulls Plug on Managed Care for Medicaid

The way states used to pay doctors and hospitals for treating Medicaid patients was by directly reimbursing them for the services they rendered. But spurred by criticism that the so-called "fee-for-service" method encouraged health care providers to rack up fees for unnecessary tests and procedures...

State Net Capitol Journal: Helping Workers Help Themselves

When Dr. Dena Davidson graduated from the University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry in 1995, her expectations were pretty reasonable. "I knew being an optometrist was not going to make me rich," she says. "But I felt I would be fairly comfortable." To her, that meant...

State Net Capitol Journal: States' Medicaid Costs Rising Faster Than Spending

The National Association of Budget Officers (NASBO) and National Governors Association's (NGA) most recent survey of state fiscal health is not particularly encouraging. Although the Spring 2012 update, released last week, indicates state revenues are finally returning to their pre-recession levels...

State Net Capitol Journal: Pension Reform Hottest Hot Issue in Statehouses This Year

Legislation pertaining to pensions has been introduced this year in every state but six - Arkansas, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin - according to data compiled by State Net. And although pension measures have failed in 32 states, they've been enacted in 33. Pension bills are also...

State Net Capitol Journal: Pension Reforms Gain Necessary Traction in States and Cities

The specter of unfunded pension liabilities is haunting U.S. state and local government. These liabilities were an underlying factor in recent municipal bankruptcies in California. They hover over Pennsylvania, which is pondering pension reform while trying to rescue distressed cities. Anxiety over pension...

State Net Capitol Journal: CA State Park Donors Cry Foul

Last month California officials revealed that the state Department of Parks and Recreation had stashed away $54 million it had not reported to the state Department of Finance. The news came as quite a surprise, especially to the groups that had generously donated to keep state parks open that the department...

State Net Capitol Journal: States Cut Medicaid as Feds Prepare for Expansion

Thirteen states are making cuts to their Medicaid programs this year, according to a survey by Kaiser Health News for USA Today. The cuts, most of which took effect July 1st, generally reduce benefits, trim payments to Medicaid providers or tighten eligibility. Alabama, for instance, cut payments to...

State Net Capitol Journal: Malloy Gets Okay to Cut Medicaid

Leaders of key panels in the Connecticut Senate said they will not interfere with Gov. Dannell P. Malloy's (D) effort to cut 13,000 people from the state's Medicaid rolls. Leaders in the Appropriations and Human Services Committees said they will not meet again before August 18, the deadline...

State Net Capitol Journal: Will pension reform save California cities from themselves?

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) made public employee pension reform a benchmark of his 2012 agenda. For most of this year, however, his Democratic colleagues met his call with a pronounced lack of enthusiasm. But with the session winding down to its final minutes, lawmakers last week endorsed a plan...

State Net Capitol Journal: Snyder Says MI Will Appeal Retiree Health Ruling

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said his administration intends to appeal a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling [ AFT Mich. v. State , 2012 Mich. App. LEXIS 1632 (Mich. Ct. App. Aug. 16, 2012) [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ]] that declared unconstitutional a 2010 law requiring school...

State Net Capitol Journal: Pension Cuts Trim Only a Ninth of States' Unfunded Liabilities

Nearly every state in the nation has made cuts to its public-employee pensions in the past few years. But the measures have only chipped away a fraction of the enormous gap between what states have put into their retirement plans and what they've promised their workers. According to researchers at...

State Net Capitol Journal: Pension Problems Nothing New to IL

Illinois' $97 billion unfunded pension liability - among the largest in the nation - was apparently decades in the making. "Of principle concern to the Commission is the accumulation of large unfunded accrued liabilities resulting for the most part from the inadequacy of government contributions...