States, Public Unions Wrestle Over Pensions

Lawmakers around the country are looking at new ways to prevent budget disasters by changing the rules for overburdened state employee pension funds. But they are meeting stiff resistance from public employee unions.

Two Arizona state lawmakers this week, including the speaker of the House, introduced their plan to salvage the state’s budget by significantly changing the public retirement system.

Following the lead of Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., a pair of New Jersey assemblymen on Monday put forth their legislative solution to make solvent a fund that’s $54 billion in the red.

Also on Monday, in his first budget address as governor, Florida’s Rick Scott announced his effort to “stabilize and secure” government employee pensions.

The moves are part of a larger battle over pension reform between conservative budget hawks and government worker unions. And the public-sector employees are fighting back hard.

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