Book of the States 2011

State legislatures face mounting pressures to further reform public retirement plans to achieve sustainable, sufficient and competitive levels. A major legal challenge facing many states is their ability to change benefits for current employees. This article reviews both legal and pragmatic issues, and offers specific options, policies and strategies to guide legislative reforms.

State governments are facing a fiscal crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. Unprecedented challenges seem overwhelming when change requires working with state bureaucracies so large and entrenched that state administrators are unable to affect meaningful improvements. State administrators are, in fact, an integral part of state reform.