Creative Commons /
Creative Commons /

The Williams Report


Alaska: New Plan From Alaska House Majority Would Wipe Out GOP Budget Leverage
Legislators debate between whether tapping the Constitutional Budget Reserve or Permanent Fund to balance the budget.

California: Political Road Map: Surprisingly Talk in Sacramento Could Return to a Firm Cap on State Spending
State pending may soon reach a cap put in place in 1979.

Connecticut: Timing of State Budget a Concern For Municipal Leaders
Many local governments expect to take a hit as state budget re-balances allocation of local funds.

Connecticut: Partisan CT Budget Feud Extends to Town Budgets As Well
“Democrats and Republicans alike have balked at some of the controversial solutions Malloy has proposed to close the deficit.”

Georgia: Senate Adopts Record $25 Billion State Budget.
State budget includes pay raises to address “retention problem.”

Hawaii:  House Sends “Prudent” Budget to Senate.
Legislature offers a smaller budget than Governor Ige after revenue projections fall again.

Illinois: Illinois Senate Spending “Cap” Doesn’t Protect Taxpayers, Core Services
“A spending cap without reforms solves nothing.”

Iowa: Analysts: Iowa Faces $131M Shortfall for Current Budget
While Republicans have chosen to focus the blame on the continued effects of low commodity prices to the farm economy, Democrats in recent weeks have pointed to the state’s spending on tax credits.

Kansas: Kansas Lawmakers Advance Budget Plan to Avoid School Cuts
Representatives suggest shoring the pension fund and borrowing money to avoid cutting school funding, and satisfy the state Supreme Court’s demands for a new funding formula for schools.

Louisiana: Editorial: Special Session a Calm Before the Storm
“Lawmakers will face a $400 million continuation deficit for next year, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The one-cent sales tax lawmakers approved last year expires June 30, 2018.”

Mississippi: Early State Budget Draft Has More Drastic Cuts
To deal with revenue shortfalls nearly all state agencies looking at budget cuts.

Missouri: Missouri Auditor to Focus on Reasons for Budget Shortfalls
“Galloway says some of the audits will focus on state tax credits and exemptions that reduce that amount of revenue Missouri receives from income and sales taxes.”

New Jersey: Christie’s Successor Will Face Budget Challenges
The next governor of New Jersey will be inheriting budget problems from increasing decreased revenue to school funding.

North Dakota: N.D. Released Updated Revenue Forecast, Shortfalls Continue to Grow
Growing budget deficits prompt discussions on budget cuts and cost saving measures.

Oklahoma: Lawmakers Ask For ‘Crippling’ Budget Cut Scenarios, state Employees Say
“The OPEA said lawmakers wanted to look at budget cut scenarios in order to balance the budget, while making room for teacher pay raises and keeping public education off the chopping block.”

South Carolina: House Approves State Budget
House approves a budget including increases to education, retirement and disaster recovery.

Virginia: Here’s Where Lawmakers Found the Money to Close Virginia’s Budget Shortfall
Budget gap filled with money pulled from rainy day fund, delaying state employee pay raises and other sources.

West Virginia: GOP Announces Plan That Cuts $390M From Existing WV Budget
Delegates propose budget that closes budget shortfall with spending cuts and without raising taxes.

West Virginia: Governor Justice Calls Out Legislators Over State Budget
“Talking with reporters in front of his countdown clock, which is ticking away the remaining days of the legislative session, Justice is wondering where the house and senate budget proposals are.”



California: State’s Retired Public Workers Earn 26% More Than Private Sector Workers Still On the Job
“The new study found that the average pension for a retired public employee in California was $68,673 in 2015, before benefits. By contrast, active private-sector workers earned on average just $54,326.”

Connecticut: Towns Make Legal Case Against Malloy’s Teacher Pension Plan
Some towns in are bringing legal challenges to the Governor’s proposal that local governments share the burden of teachers pensions.

Connecticut: State Pension Fund Jumps 13.4%
“Net returns on the two funds for the one-year period ending Jan. 31, 2017, were posted at 13.43 percent, however, with the teachers fund gaining 13.57 percent and the state employees fund growing by 13.37 percent.”

Illinois: Interest on Illinois’ Pension Debt is $9.1 Billion Per Year
“Even though Illinois is already overtaxed, and pension costs are driving up taxes more each year, the state still can’t cover the interest cost on the pension debt until 2028.”

Illinois: Chicago Worst Among 15 Major Cities Grappling With Pensions
When compared to the other 14 largest cities in the US Chicago has “the highest annual debt, pension post-employment benefits costs as a percentage of governmental expenditures and the highest debt and pension liability per capita.”

Illinois: Chicago Credit Rating Plummets to Junk Status Following Pension Ruling
“The double downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service leaves Chicago and Detroit as the only U.S. cities of more than 500,000 with such low ratings, according to one municipal bond analysis firm.”

Maine: Legislation Proposed to Eliminate State Income Tax for Government Retirement Pensions
Legislators in Maine are considering exempting government pensions from income tax.

Maryland: Extra Pension Fund Payment From State Surplus Would Continue Under Bill Approved by House
The House of Delegates passed a bill to pre-fund retiree’s pension and health care benefits.

New Jersey: State’s Long Term Debt Surges $18 Billion in One Year Due to What It Owes For Pensions and Health Benefits For Retirees
New Jersey’s Debt jumped 12 percent due to chronic underfunding of its pension system.

New Jersey: Cops, Firefighters Could Pull Pensions From NJ Public-Employee System
State lawmakers are considering removing the high functioning Police and Firemen’s Retirement System from the more underfunded pension systems.

New Jersey: N.J Benefits Panel: Is the Lottery the Solution to the State’s Benefits Funding Crisis?
“If nothing else, the current crisis is a testament to the folly of funding benefits based on the prospects of enhanced revenues and investment returns.”

Pennsylvania: Cumberland County Commissioners Seek State Probe of CAT Pensions
After receiving reports of executives receiving “double pensions” the state auditor has been asked to look into the finances of the Capital Area Transit.

Pennsylvania:  State needs a public sector pension overhaul
A 401(k) style defined contribution plan would help maintain the solvency of Pennsylvania’s public retirement system.

Pennsylvania: State Pension Plan Needs Reform Now
SERS fails to meet assumed investment return, again.

South Carolina: Silver Bullet for the S.C. Pension Fund
South Carolina senate votes to transition pensions to a defined contribution plan.

South Carolina: SC Towns, Counties and Schools to Pay for Shoring Up Pensions
Some local officials call the changes unfair since they have no say over operation of the retirement systems and investments.

Texas: Commentary: Stop the Rising Burden of Texas’ Debt and Public Pensions
Until state pension systems are not based on payouts without appropriate funding, taxpayers will ultimately be on the hook to fund any potential shortfall.

Utah: Guest View: Why Now Is The Time For Pension Reform
Former state senator recommends the town of Lincoln’s pensions from defined benefits to a cash-balance system.

Wisconsin: Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele calls for pension reform after errors
Milwaukee County is reconsidering a 2010 proposal to move its pension system into the state system due to “hundreds of pension errors that will cost the county nearly $2.2 million to correct.”