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Bob Williams
Bob Williams, President of State Budget Solutions, is a former Washington state legislator, gubernatorial candidate and auditor with the Government Accountability Office.

Entries by Bob Williams

Swift Action Needed: Day of Reckoning for States Is Near

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2015 | 12:23 AM

Each year the Government Accountability Office (GAO) publishes its outlook on the fiscal health of state and local governments, as compared to the nation as a whole. This year's report looks fifty years into the future, assessing the long-term prognosis of these states and localities. The GAO's findings...

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Chicago's Day of Reckoning Is Now

(38) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 6:47 PM

America's third-largest city, Chicago, is also the seventh-most expensive in the world -- and it just got even costlier for its residents. According to municipal audits and financial statements, Chicago Public Schools cannot make their pension payments and meet payroll this year while covering their monthly bills. In...

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Let States Handle Transportation

(10) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 1:30 PM

Most of us utilize some kind of government-funded transportation in our daily lives. Whether it's riding a bus or the subway, taking a ferry or driving on roads, we are all touched by transportation dollars spent in our states. In the face of this high demand for transportation, states today...

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Wisconsin Pensions: Better Than Other States, But Still Insolvent

(30) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 10:30 AM

In November, the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) issued a report on Wisconsin pensions and other post-employment benefits (OPEB). The latter includes all non-monetary benefits, but the lion's share is healthcare spending. While the NCPA study found much to praise in Wisconsin's pension system, it also called...

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The Road to Solvency

(0) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 6:37 PM

In my previous column, I discussed how a staggering 22 states are confronting budget shortfalls this year. This was not exactly unforeseen: State Budget Solutions (SBS) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have been warning states for years about overspending as well as the dangers of ignoring hidden...

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For Many States, Now Is the Day of Reckoning

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 1:28 PM

Across the country, in statehouses nationwide, the day of reckoning has arrived. This year, according to the Associated Press, a staggering 22 states are confronting budget shortfalls. Given that nearly half the states are flagging, Standard & Poor's has rightly sounded the alarm, calling these shortfalls...

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If Government Accountants Are Worried About the State of the States, Taxpayers Should Be Petrified

(2) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 10:07 AM

Many states have been underfunding the annual requirement for pensions in order to allegedly "balance" the state budgets over the past few years.

Those budget gimmicks are a cause for concern, according to a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO makes it clear that without...

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Fixing Public Pensions: The First Step in Detroit's Long Road to Recovery

(10) Comments | Posted July 16, 2014 | 5:29 PM

On the surface, Detroit may look like a lost cause--a bankrupt city facing a nearly insurmountable fiscal and social crisis.

Sure, the Motor City's problems are numerous. A depleted manufacturing base, population decline, urban decay, and a high crime rate are just a few of the high-profile problems facing...

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Here's How to Fix New Jersey's Budget and Pension Problems

(3) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 1:57 PM

New Jersey's day of fiscal reckoning is here.

The state currently faces a more than $800 million shortfall for the current budget period ending on June 30, and another $1.2 billion shortfall for the following period.

Given these staggering sums, it is past time for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie...

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Governor Christie Should Enact Meaningful Pension Reform in New Jersey

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 12:06 PM

Governor Chris Christie is not known for his listening skills, and it appears that he is not even listening to himself.

Christie is known for rhetoric, and what he has said about the state's need for reform to the pension system and limit the state debt makes sense -- a...

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Governor Corbett Not Consistent on Pensions

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 10:27 AM

Governor Tom Corbett has repeatedly talked about the need for meaningful pension reform, but his recent budget proposal undermines both employee retirement security and Pennsylvania's future fiscal health. His plan kicks the can forward by using gimmicks to "balance" the budget.
In the budget speech he delivered on February...

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Do You Want to Bail Out Your State?

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 10:58 AM

If a friend asks for $16,000 so that they can pay off a debt, how do you react?

Chances are you think that is a lot of money, and you question how they got into that kind of debt in the first place. Moreover, it's likely that you tell your...

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Medicaid Expansion: The Wrong Option for Wyoming

(1) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 8:42 AM

The evidence is clear. Medicaid expansion will not improve the health of Wyomans. Nor will Medicaid expansion deliver on the promise of cost savings. For those simple reasons alone, Wyoming should "just say no" to Medicaid expansion.

Governor Mead is right to be skeptical of expansion. A study published in...

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Retirement Security Is at Risk in Pennsylvania

(2) Comments | Posted October 8, 2013 | 3:40 PM

Imagine; you are a retired schoolteacher who served 35 years working with children in South Philadelphia. You planned and saved accordingly to live a happy life, and in that planning assumed your pension benefits would be there for you at the end of your career. Imagine walking to the mailbox,...

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The Strong Arm of California Labor Unions

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2013 | 12:37 PM

If you thought California's labor unions couldn't get any stronger, you would be wrong. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the U.S. Secretary of Labor in your corner.

In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Secretary Tom Perez said that the Department of Labor can withhold up to $1.6...

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Medicaid Expansion: The Wrong Prescription for Virginia

(2) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 4:23 PM

It is decision time for Virginia on Medicaid expansion. As Virginia's Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) takes up the issue, they must remember that MIRC's purpose is to "review, recommend and approve innovation and reform proposals" for Medicaid in the Commonwealth, not simply to adopt a failing...

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Hey, Chicago, Whattya Say? Chapter 9 Is on the Way?

(24) Comments | Posted August 8, 2013 | 10:34 AM

When Detroit filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy, observers offered many reasons for the city's dire fiscal condition. Corruption and downright poor management are obviously to blame, but others point to de-urbanization, the shrinking American auto industry, or even income inequality as drivers of Detroit's inability to pay its bills....

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Michigan: Don't Rush Into Medicaid Expansion

(1) Comments | Posted July 30, 2013 | 5:54 PM

There are few sure things in life. If Medicaid expansion comes to Michigan, however, you can be sure that the health of new recipients will not improve and costs for the failing program will continue to rise.

Improving Michiganders health, while keeping costs from skyrocketing has to mean something to...

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Bankruptcy in Detroit: Pain and a Ray of Hope

(1) Comments | Posted July 19, 2013 | 5:53 PM

by Bob Williams and Cory Eucalitto, State Budget Solutions

There's no sugar coating it; Detroit's decades of failed political leadership and utter mismanagement caused the largest municipal bankruptcy in American History. The price will be real pain for citizens and everyone who loves the "Motor City."

But, for...

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States Have a Choice in Adopting Common Core Standards for K-12 Education

(6) Comments | Posted June 18, 2013 | 5:03 PM

Of all the arguments for and against the adoption of the national Common Core State Standards, the educational benchmarks in English language arts and mathematics, the claim that states had no choice in the matter is the weakest of all. That contention is based on the flawed idea that when...

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