Some state and local governments are reforming their pension plans to
make them more fiscally sustainable while still providing retirement security to their employees, and a new report from the Washington-based Center for State and Local Government Excellence (CSLGE) seeks to share the lessons they have learned. CSLGE’s “Strengthening State and Local Government Finances: Lessons for Negotiating Public Pension Plan Reforms,” released Wednesday, covers the reforms of three states, one county, and one city.

The report covers the pension reforms of Iowa, Oregon, Vermont, Gwinnett County, Ga., and Houston. The lessons learned from each government include plan funding, the importance of using good data, and the need for strong communication, governance and financial education.

The report’s key findings include:
• Pensions should be viewed as part of a broader human resources
strategy that can affect recruitment and retention.
• Policy makers need high-quality data and analyses as they consider
benefit changes.
• Strong communication with all stakeholders helps employees, elected
officials and the public understand the need for change.
• Discipline in funding a plan’s annual required contribution is
important to achieve full funding.
• Workplace financial education will help public employees learn how to
build their retirement savings.

In addition to the new report, CSLGE continues to maintain and update a national map that tracks a sample of state and local pension reforms made within the past 10 years. The map offers information on the location and details of the reforms, along with links to more information.

Read more about “Strengthening State and Local Government Finances.”