Labor and Employment

CSG South

The Council of State Governments’ Southern office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), has researched, reviewed and published a series of reports on the status of public retirement systems in recent years. Continuing this trend, this Issue Alert seeks to apprise policymakers in the SLC states on a recent development in states across the country: the increased scrutiny of actuarial estimates in public pension plans and their role in influencing the overall financial health of these plans.

CSG South

Very few topics generate as much interest among both policymakers and the general public as a discussion on the financial viability of the United States’ retirement infrastructure. Research indicates that every element of our nation’s retirement architecture, both private and public, remains tenuous—a development that demands the focus of policymakers at every level of government.

Public pension plans are an important component of the U.S. economic architecture. This issue brief highlights the need for policymakers to focus on retirement systems, the finances of state retirement systems, several key developments and strategies employed in states across the country to bolster the finances of their pension systems.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act establishes penalties for knowingly employing an illegal alien. It defines “knowingly” as having actual knowledge that a person is an illegal alien or having a duty imposed by law to determine the immigration status of an illegal alien and failing to perform such duty. Violators can have their business license suspended. The Act also permits local governments in the state to enter into a written agreement with the United States Department of Homeland Security to help enforce federal immigration laws concerning investigating, detaining, and removing illegal aliens.

Suggested State Legislation:This Act creates a program to reimburse education costs for residents who obtain an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in the state, and live, work and pay taxes in the state thereafter.

Suggested State legislation: This Act makes it a felony to knowingly transport, conceal or harbor an illegal alien. Anyone found in violation and convicted may receive up to one year in prison and/or a fine not less than $1,000.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act directs that an employer shall not intentionally employ an unauthorized alien or knowingly employ an unauthorized alien. On receipt of a complaint that an employer allegedly intentionally employs an unauthorized alien or knowingly employs an unauthorized alien, the attorney general or county attorney shall investigate.

CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Fiscal Policy Manager at the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), before the SLC Fall Legislative Issues Conference in Savannah, Georgia, November 12, 2006. It deals with a topic that has enormous implications for state finances: under-funded and unfunded state pensions.

CSG South

On December 12, 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) awarded The Council of State Governments’ (CSG) Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), a grant to determine pension portability among public health employees in the United States. RWJF focuses on the pressing health and healthcare issues facing the United States and is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans.

In order to meet the requirements of the grant, the SLC conducted a survey of the administrative entities managing the pensions of public health employees in all 50 states to determine their rules and regulations regarding pension portability for this category of public employee. Based on the responses to the survey questionnaire and additional research, the SLC researchers were able to ascertain whether the pension plan in a state permits an employee to purchase service credits for prior periods of qualified employment in another jurisdiction, both in another state and within the state; whether the pension plan is a defined benefit (DB) or defined compensation (DC) plan; the minimum amount of time required for an employee’s pension benefits to be fully vested; the existence of any recent legislative activity related to the portability of retirement plans of public health officials in each state; whether any federal tax laws impact on the pension portability of these public health employees; and the existence of pension portability in other public employment sector categories.

Based on the information gleaned from the survey responses and additional research, this report contains:
» Details on the current status of the different elements of our nation’s retirement infrastructure;
» Information on the public health employee landscape, including a snapshot of current and expected shortages and other workforce challenges facing this employment category;
» Analysis of the survey responses on pension portability from the 50 states;
» Federal tax implications relating to pension portability in the states;
» Information from other non-health, public sector categories on pension portability; and
» Issues for consideration by state policymakers that would help create an environment to retain and attract professionals to the public health sector.

CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit CanagaRetna, Senior Fiscal Analyst at the Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments, at the 2005 Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors annual meeting, on August 21, 2005 in Seattle, Washington.

CSG South

This presentation was given by Sujit M. CanagaRetna, Senior Fiscal Analyst at The Council of State Governments' Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference, as testimony before the Alaska House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee (via Conference Call), July 14, 2005.

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