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Important new Reports posted; Freedom index-Ny Dems still atrocious; State Economic Competitiveness Index-Ny worst again; State Unfunded Liabilities in the Trillions; Ny Average Teacher Salaries highest in the nation; State Budget Reform Toolkit; State Legislators Guide to Repealing ObamaCare

March 19, 2011

CapitolFreedom Index

 “The Freedom Index” rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements. Click Here to download the most recent index (PDF)

New York  (for vote key, all states, and additional info click full report above)
Votes: 31-40 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 1-40

King, P. (R ) 80% + + + + + – + – + + 65%
Lee, C. (R ) 80% – + + + + – + + + + 62%
(No Democrat scored over 20%, average 10%)
Higgins (D ) 0% – – – – – – – – – – 3%

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The mission of ALEC is to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty among America’s state legislators.
 

Rich States, Poor States
By Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore & Jonathan Williams

 

 
 
As states face their toughest budgetary climates in a generation, ALEC’s third edition of Rich States, Poor States: ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index  offers a clear roadmap to prosperity.Co-author and renowned economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer summarized the report’s findings when he said, “Tax and economic policies are essential to the competiveness of our states.” Rich States, Poor States presents state economic outlook rankings based on public policies that have a proven impact on growth, revealing which states have the best chance of experiencing economic recovery, and which need to re-examine their policies before they can expect to see improvement.In this third edition of Rich States, Poor States, authors Arthur B. Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Jonathan Williams explain why the economic crisis has been so rough on the states, what states should do to alleviate the fiscal pain, and what they should avoid. In addition, the authors provide the 2010 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness rankings of the states based on their economic policies and examine which states took the right corrective actions and which states took the wrong ones in the face of this fiscal storm.

View Press Release
Purchase a copy of 2010 report
View full report
Rich States, Poor States Sections
Foreword
Chapter Two
Chapter Four
Appendices
 
State Snapshots

 

 

 
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State Unfunded Liabilities in the Trillions: ALEC Provides the Solutions
Other Post Employee Benefit Plans: A Case for Shifting to the Defined Contribution Approach

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 3, 2011) – State and local spending growth outpaced private sector growth by nearly 90 percent over the past decade and current budget deficits are estimated to exceed $100 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. However, state budget gaps are overshadowed in size and scope by unfunded liabilities in state pension and healthcare systems for public employees, which are trillions in the red.

These unsustainable cost drivers threaten the financial solvency of the states.  State legislators can no longer ignore the unfunded liabilities in Other Post Employment Benefit Plans (OPEB). To help legislators navigate tough budget solutions, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is pleased to announce the release of Other Post Employee Benefit Plans: A Case for Shifting to the Defined Contribution Approach.

“Clearly, state legislators need a new approach in order to fulfill their promises to government workers, while maintaining financial solvency,” said ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Chair Sen. Jim Buck (R-IN).  “Most legislative fixes over the past few years for state budgets have merely postponed or obscured state budget problems, rather than solving them.  By allowing public employees to contribute to their own welfare, they will have secure, portable assets for their retirement.  ALEC is providing states the right solutions to address this crisis.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor, as of December, 2010, state and local government employees received benefits that were 69 percent higher than those in the private sector.  State and local government employees earn $13.85 per hour in benefits compared to the private sector workers who earn an average of $8.20 per hour.  According to the new ALEC report, there are also great disparities in the magnitude of unfunded liabilities per capita of OPEB plans in the states. The outlier is Alaska, with more than $13,000 in unfunded liabilities per capita. In contrast, seven states have unfunded liabilities per capita less than $100.

ALEC’s comprehensive report discusses comparisons between public and private sector benefits, the causes of unfunded liabilities, and how state legislators can successfully address them. An in-depth discussion of Idaho and California’s experiences with unfunded liabilities also provides state legislators with best practices for reform.  For example, Idaho recently enacted reforms that significantly reduced the cost of OPEB plans to the state. Idaho’s contributions to the plan now exceed the required contributions, and the state is on track to eliminate unfunded liabilities in the plan over the actuarial time period. 

“If other states followed Idaho’s example and enacted the reforms in their retiree health plans, they could eliminate the $1 trillion in unfunded liabilities in OPEB plans over the actuarial time period,” said Dr. Barry Poulson, co-author of Other Post Employee Benefit Plans: A Case for Shifting to the Defined Contribution Approach.

Click to view pdf (NY= one of the worst @ $47,000,000,000+ unfunded liabilities)

  • State and local employee benefits are 69 percent higher than those of employees in the private sector.

 

  • Taxpayers want to know: Why are more tax dollars being used to finance pension and health benefits for public sector retirees that are more than those available to private sector employees?

 

  • As health care costs rise, the cost of providing health insurance for retirees will continue to increase, accompanied by even greater unfunded liabilities in OPEB plans.
  • As the cost of health care premiums have increased, employees in the private sector have assumed a greater share of the cost. 

Click to view pdf

Click here for full report

Click here for link to Jonathan Williams’ op-ed on AOL News: “Wisconsin Exposes Deeper State Budget Crisis

[For Reference: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecec.pdf]
 
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Empire Center – Data Bank

DOWNLOAD THIS CHART

Average Teacher Salary 2009-10     
               
Rank    State    $ Amount     
    
1    New York    71,470    
2    California    70,458
..   
50    South Dakota    35,070    

Source: National Education Association     
Note: Data for Total Instructional Staff of Classroom Teachers

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State Budget Reform Toolkit

Click here for full report

    Today, states face structural deficits created by overspending. Most of the legislative “fixes” over the past few years for state budget gaps have merely postponed or obscured the problems rather than addressing them directly.ALEC’s State Budget Reform Toolkit will advance a set of budget and procurement best practices to guide state policymakers as they work to solve the current budget shortfalls, assisting legislators in prioritizing and more efficiently delivering core government services through advancing Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.

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The State Legislators Guide to Repealing ObamaCare

Click here for full report      The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “ObamaCare,” is truly an unprecedented piece of federal legislation. Unfortunately for states, the precedent it sets is a bad one—one that will result in overburdened Medicaid programs, higher taxes, an unconstitutional requirement that individuals purchase health insurance,and a federal takeover of health insurance regulation.

As a state legislator, you know that any health reform legislation should mirror the Hippocratic Oath that guides the practice of medicine—“First, do no harm.” The best health care is patient- and market-driven, not government-driven—and ObamaCare embodies neither of these qualities.

The State Legislators Guide to Repealing ObamaCare will be an essential tool as you look to halt ObamaCare’s harmful effects and implement real healthcare reform that is both market-oriented and patient-centered.

Now is the time to act.

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