or something like that.
Mitchell’s plan includes extending pre-kindergarten services to every school district in Maine; providing grants to high school graduates to help pay for their first year of college; reducing Maine’s high school dropout rate by expanding the Jobs for Maine Graduates program; and raising standards for public schools with a set of [...]
More (scandalous) facts emerge:
The pension system’s board assumes a 7.75 percent return on the millions it has invested. For many years, it met and even exceeded that rate of return. But the 2008 stock market crash ended up reducing the pension system’s returns in fiscal year 2009 by 18.7 percent and 11.1 percent the [...]
The story begins to creep out:
Officials with the Maine Public Employees Retirement System announced earlier this month their projections for how much the state will have to pay to maintain the system for current employees plus pay down past debts. All told, the cost to the state in the 2012-13 budget will be $916 [...]
The issues we’re following in Maine — the state budget (especially its education component), taxation issues, and local budgets — with all their accompanying discussions of cuts and program viability, and finger pointing, have their corresponding discussions in nearly every other state. Some of these discussioins are louder and more fractious than the hubub here. [...]
From Monday’s New York Post: [emphasis added]
Gov. Chris Christie is making good on his promise to get tough with New Jersey’s $2.2 billion budget gap — by taking aim at one of the drivers of the state’s out-of-control taxes: school budgets.
Under Christie’s budget, New Jersey’s 605 school districts will see their state aid [...]
… and start behaving crazy!
Here’s the pattern: Many public pension funds were mismatched on funds (not enough) and liabilities (lots and lots). Then came the fiscal crisis, market downturn, real estate crash, etc. and they were so far behind that, had they been private entities, they would have been put into receivership.
Now they’re [...]
We all know unemployment is high, approximately 10% nationally.
And you’ve probably heard that public-sector employment and unionization (as a percentage of all unionized workers) and compensation have grown significantly in the last decade.
And in many cases, the public sector is — so far — recession proof.
While private-sector workers in the capital [Albany, [...]
The Governor’s budget: Brian has it all over at MDISchools (see the December 20 post).
It’s slash and burn time, the wolf is at the door, fly away home your house is on fire. Use any image you want, but we’re up against it. You knew it was coming.
Matthew Stone has the story here. Read it all.
Particularly worthy of notice is this section:
Aside from mergers, the education [...]
We break our recent radio silence for this important message.
New state cuts hit education, social services hardest
Gov. John Baldacci ordered more than $63 million in midyear budget cuts Friday in a curtailment order that heavily targets state funding for education and social services programs.
Faced with a two-year revenue shortfall approaching $400 million, [...]
Click on pig to get to the 2009 Piglet Book
Regardless of how the economy is treating us and regardless of what we imagine the future holds, there’s an objective reality of unsoundness regarding public pension funding and the stability of public pensions. While you may think the overall crisis is partly — or largely — a matter of perceptions, feelings, that is absolutely not [...]
a mile off!
Today’s Bangor Daily News carries a Mal Leary story, right side, above the fold, “Retirement system faces big shortfall.” Link when available here.
In the meantime, you can probably write most of the story yourself. Use these words: reeling, doubling, stunning, enormous, surprised.
Update: Link added above.
In their presentation to the [...]
Happy April 15th! From OPUS: 25 Years of His Sunday Best, Berkeley Breathed, 2004 (click to enlarge)
There was a WW2-era (and later) catchphrase, common in my youth, but rarely heard today, “all quiet on the western front.” Yes I know the Remarque novel of WW1, a used-to-be high-school English standby; I’m speaking more of the phrase’s adoption in everyday speech.
Here’s an extract from the Wikipedia article on the novel:
Sometimes crises bring out the best; other times not. Here’s an idea that, even though it’s pretty early in the year, is already in the running for the dumbest idea of the year: A Proposal to Bolster Banks With Pension Funds (NYT, 2/10).
Catastrophe: it’s a word thrown around a lot of late. We’d prefer to tone it down a bit, with words like “crisis”, or, even better “problem.” But “catastrophe” might be the right word, in the case of pensions.
There are getting to be serious problems with pension funds.
Investors who once considered their retirements safely [...]
Like 64% or so of Americans, if the latest polls are to be believed, I can’t feel very good about this strange swamp thang called the stimulus. I won’t regale you with my reasoning.
But wherever you might stand on the stimulus, isn’t it fascinating to see who comes forward during the arguments, and with [...]