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Girard Miller  |  Finance Columnist

Email : millergirard@yahoo.com

Girard Miller is the returning finance columnist for Governing. He is a retired investment and public finance professional, and the author of .  Miller brings 30 years of experience in public finance and investments as a former GASB board member, and ICMA Retirement Corp president. 

THE FUTURE OF Finance

How State Bond Banks Could Supercharge Fiscal Federalism

With an expanded role, they could serve as an efficient conduit between local governments of all sizes and federal financial resources for revenue shortfalls and infrastructure.

May 26, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

An Overlooked Resource for Rebuilding Local Economies: Angels

Locally focused investors support the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystems that will produce high-paying jobs in the post-pandemic world. Public officials can learn a lot from their angel investors.

May 12, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

A COVID-19 Liability Compromise to Unlock Federal Fiscal Aid

If businesses looking to reopen are going to be shielded from coronavirus-related lawsuits by their workers and customers, there should be stringent, OSHA-style regulatory enforcement.

May 5, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF What’s Next

Are We Headed for a Hoover 2.0 November Election?

If state and local governments and their employees become pawns in a Beltway ideological battle, the voting could turn on issues of federalism. And health care could be the issue that creates a tidal wave.

April 30, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

How to Sharpen Our Fiscal Tools to Fund Infrastructure

Everybody wants to rebuild it. Nobody wants to pay for it. But there are plenty of options for planning and financing infrastructure projects that don't require deficit financing.

April 28, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

Mitch McConnell's Crazy Idea: Let States Declare Bankruptcy

In suggesting that it should be allowed, the Senate majority leader is conflating COVID-19 budgetary emergencies with historical public-pension deficits. They have nothing to do with each other.

April 24, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

Do the States Really Need a Half-Trillion from Washington?

The governors are calling for a quick $500 billion to offset plummeting tax revenues. But we don't know how long a pandemic recession will last or how deep it will be. We should be guided by hard data.

April 22, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

Rebuilding Our Infrastructure Can Wait Until 2021

Spending vast amounts on a crash program now won't help those who've lost their livelihoods to the coronavirus pandemic. We need to take the time for sensible planning to do it right.

April 14, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

How Congress Can Minimize “Viral” State and Local Layoffs

Federal fiscal assistance could avert budget-balancing cutbacks at the state and municipal level as the coronavirus devastates the economy. Here are some of the strategies and policies that are likely to be — or ought to be — considered.

April 9, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

How to Keep the Lights of Business On and Save the Tax Base

A short-term federal forgivable-loan program for property owners whose tenants can't pay their rent during the pandemic would protect badly needed state and local revenues.

April 6, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

Property Tax Collectors, Give Folks a Break!

Delaying fast-approaching property-tax deadlines would help Americans facing economic stress, and it wouldn't be that costly for local governments.

April 2, k彩平台
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THE FUTURE OF Finance

More Help Is Likely on the Way for States and Localities and the Coronavirus-caused Recession — Including an Obscure Source of Federal Aid for Muni Bonds

Plus, drafting a fourth stimulus bill before the $2 trillion package is sorted out, considering recession scenarios, state positioning as economy shudders, and credit ratings could be more vulnerable than budgets.

March 31, k彩平台
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Finance

Cash Balance Pension Plans

Crucial (and complicated) concepts in public money explained.

February 1, 2014
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Public Money

Farewell, My Readers

After five years as a Governing contributor, Girard Miller signs off.

June 21, 2012
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Public Money

Hybrid Treasury Bonds for Public Pension Funds

Federal-state collaboration could save taxpayers billions and help deter runaway inflation.

June 21, 2012
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Public Money

Pension Reforms Go to the Courts

What's next after California's recent landslide elections?

June 21, 2012
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Public Money

Public Pension Portfolios Double Down

A new study blames GASB policy for spurring state and local governments to make riskier investments.

June 14, 2012
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Public Money

COLA Freezes: Pension Reform's Third Rail

Here are 7 things to consider before cutting retirees' cost-of-living allowances.

June 7, 2012
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Public Money

"Say on Pay" for Public Pension Funds

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

May 17, 2012
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Public Money

Cash-Balance Pension Plans: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

Defined-benefit fans tout this hybrid, but taxpayers need protections.

May 3, 2012
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Public Money

On Pension Reform, Trying to Fit a Square Peg in a Round Hole

Politicians can't fix pension abuses with voting rules alone.

April 19, 2012
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Public Money

Stable-Value Funds: Their Time Under Heaven

A k彩平台work assignment for 457 investors and administrators

April 19, 2012
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Public Money

Insolvency, Bankruptcy and Doublespeak

Don't plead poverty while soft-selling your bonds.

April 12, 2012
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Public Money

Retirement Reform II: Beyond the Easy Stuff

Essential and practical steps to take in 2012

April 5, 2012
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Public Money

Sovereign Immunity for Public Employers

The Supreme Court has reaffirmed certain states' rights in the workplace.

April 5, 2012
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Public Money

'New Normal' Budgeting for 2013

Tax revenues are up, but deferred costs are waiting to be paid.

March 15, 2012
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Public Money

Pension Reform: Stop Billing the Grandkids

Intergenerational equity in retirement plans is long overdue.

March 8, 2012
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Public Money

OPEB Made Easier

A new set of best practices for 'other post-employment benefits'

February 23, 2012
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Public Money

Bad News for Workers Comp Premiums

Low investment returns hamper self-insurance pools.

February 23, 2012
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Public Money

Jerry Brown's Plan for Comprehensive Pension Reform

The California governor's far-reaching proposal requires hybrid plans, equal employee cost-sharing and a constitutional amendment.

February 9, 2012
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Public Money

Could a Flatter Federal Tax Plan Actually Work?

A centrist plan with a progressive twist could be a bipartisan compromise. And it could help balance the budget.

February 9, 2012
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Public Money

One Pension Half-Truth That's Actually a Quarter-Truth

A closer look at how "interest follows principal" in pension funds

January 19, 2012
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Public Money

Pension Puffery

Here are 12 half-truths that deserve to be debunked in 2012.

January 5, 2012
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Public Money

GASB's New Hornet's Nest: 'Economic Condition' Reporting

Should financial projections be "required supplementary information"?

December 15, 2011
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Public Money

Rhode Island's Landmark Pension Reforms

In this column by Public Money author Girard Miller, he writes about how newly enacted pension reforms will test contract law.

December 8, 2011
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Public Money

California Court Vests Retirees' Medical Benefits

The decision sends the Orange County case back to federal court.

December 8, 2011
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Public Money

Will Pension Plans Run Out of Money?

A new research report using GASB proposed metrics reveals risks of "depletion."

December 8, 2011
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Public Money

Slaying the OPEB Dragon

Retiree medical costs can be tamed, but it requires effort. Some solutions are obvious, others are at the cutting edge of innovation.

November 30, 2011
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Public Money

Pension Prop 13

California’s pension hawks file a detailed, alternative plan to the governor's that builds on his proposals.

November 10, 2011
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Public Money

Benefits Bonds Revisited

Does it make sense to leverage pension and OPEB funds now?

November 10, 2011
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Public Money

California Throws Down the Gauntlet for Pension Reform

The scope of the governor's new plan surprises allies and critics.

November 3, 2011
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Public Money

The Coming GAAP Gap for Pensions

How closely will plan trustees follow GASB rules when they bill employers?

November 3, 2011
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Public Money

The Cost of Doing Nothing for OPEB

Actuaries should use lower, achievable interest rates when there is not a qualified trust fund.

November 3, 2011
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Public Money

Coming Soon: Truth in Pension Investment Projections

GASB disclosure rules could inject truth serum into pension projections.

October 20, 2011
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Public Money

Wake Up That Sleepy Money

Put your idle cash to work and eliminate unnecessary fees from your portfolio.

October 13, 2011
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Public Money

Health-Care Costs Surge

Insurance premiums jump 9 percent for family coverage.

October 6, 2011
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Public Money

National 'Save for Retirement' Week Starts October 16

Here are some valuable messages that employers can share with employees.

October 6, 2011
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Public Money

New Pension Accounting Rules Roll Out

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board released new rules that are expected to become final next year.

September 30, 2011
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Public Money

Investing During a Downturn: A History Lesson

What the research reveals on stocks, bonds and inflation.

September 22, 2011
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Public Money

Socialized Pension Losses for Everybody?

A new "Secure Choice" proposal is half-baked but could be salvaged.

September 22, 2011
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Public Money

Why and How to Restore the United States' AAA Rating

Inaction could wipe out all domestic programs in just 10 years.

September 8, 2011
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Public Money

Making Money in a Zero-Yield Market

Find the silver lining in 2011's low-rate world.

September 8, 2011
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Public Money

Bonds Trump Pensions in Rhode Island

A new law puts investors first -- to save the system.

August 11, 2011
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Public Money

Bring Back Volcker

President Obama needs a strong CFO, now.

August 11, 2011
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Public Money

Navigating the New Normal Economy

Even without a double-dip recession, it's a lost decade for state and local governments and their employees.

August 11, 2011
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Public Money

Deep Freeze for Salaries

Thanks to the pension crisis, the public-sector should prepare for a 'lost decade' of compensation correction.

August 8, 2011
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Public Money

Get Ready for GASB

Pension accounting changes should prod advance planning.

August 8, 2011
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Public Money

Sharing More Pension Data with Investors

Public employers will think twice about future benefit increases if laws require more disclosure.

July 29, 2011
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Public Money

Do Unions Really Spur More Pension Benefits?

A new study challenges common beliefs about public pensions and collective bargaining.

July 21, 2011
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Public Money

GASB Files for Divorce

Accounting standards are splitting away from pension funding policies.

July 14, 2011
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Public Money

Pension Reform: Hits and Misses

Big changes are under way in some locales, but some unions are holding out.

July 7, 2011
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Public Money

Use It or Lose It

How to clean up "accrued leave" without hosing taxpayers

June 23, 2011
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Public Money

Bond Lawyers Discuss Stronger Pension Disclosures

A National Association of Bond Lawyers discussion draft suggests 10-year projections.

June 23, 2011
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Public Money

Red-Light Losers

One city pulls the plug on intersection cameras after they fail to produce revenue.

June 16, 2011
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Public Money

Clarifying the View of Retirement Debt

An insightful report from Barclay's Capital sheds new light on pension obligations.

June 16, 2011
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Public Money

Pep Talk for Pension Reform

Viable, sensible, lasting solutions will require more efforts.

June 9, 2011
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Public Money

Taxing Municipal Bonds

A controversial plan to tax state and local debt could rob states and localities of millions.

May 31, 2011
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Public Money

Summing Up Public-Sector Pay

Study sheds new light on costs of public pensions.

May 19, 2011
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Public Money

Rethinking Disability Pensions

Federal tax incentives invite abuses.

May 19, 2011
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Public Money

Prepare to Fight for Itemized Deductions

State and local taxes deserve higher priority than mortgage interest.

May 12, 2011
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Public Money

No Guarantee for Retiree Medical Benefits

San Diego court finds OPEB promises are "not vested."

May 5, 2011
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Public Money

Muzzling Money Managers

Should trustees engage in blackball tactics?

May 5, 2011
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Public Money

Rx: Pay Less and Get Less

Narrow-network HMOs are the new cost-cutting tool.

April 21, 2011
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Public Money

Medicare Reform's OPEB Side Effects

Public employers need preemptive cost-control strategies.

April 14, 2011
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Public Money

Mandating Taxable Muni Bonds

Congress should not make all municipal debt taxable -- just provide the option.

April 14, 2011
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Public Money

Venture Forth, Ye Pension Funds!

Contrarian strategies should pay off.

April 7, 2011
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Public Money

Weighing Public Pay Scales

Let's put "total compensation" to the test — and into the law — to debunk the myths on both sides.

April 7, 2011
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Public Money

The Power of No

This is the time for state and local leaders to take a 'no new spending' pledge.

March 31, 2011
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Public Money

Pension Reformers Shift Focus to Current Employees

New tiers for new hires don't move the dial enough on trillion-dollar deficits.

March 17, 2011
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Public Money

The 'Pension Ponzi' Rap

Many still use Ponzi-like accounting, but pension funds are not Ponzi schemes.

March 17, 2011
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Public Money

Union Rights and Pension Laws

State-level ceilings make the most sense.

March 3, 2011
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Public Money

Poor Pension Math

Despite public pension lobbyists' claims to the contrary, here's the true cost of pension plans to taxpayers.

February 17, 2011
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Public Money

The Power of No

This is the time for leaders to take a bipartisan 'no new spending' pledge.

February 10, 2011
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Public Money

Misplaced Pension Hysteria

The real monster is OPEB, not pensions

February 3, 2011
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Public Money

Curing a Health Care Cost Curve

With health care driving state spending, a focus on quality care could cut costs.

February 1, 2011
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Public Money

Pink Slips and Pension Red Ink

In California, it's "pension layoffs" vs. "pension attrition."

January 20, 2011
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Public Money

Are Build America Bonds Up for Grabs?

Let's fix the formula so everybody wins!

January 13, 2011
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Public Money

Re-Thinking Retirement 'Rights' for Public Employees

Vesting should not apply to future service.

January 6, 2011
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Public Money

Will 2011 Investment Markets Bail Out the Pension Funds?

Wall Street can't relieve budget-strapped public employers.

January 6, 2011
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Public Money

Labor-Relations Strategies to Cut Benefits Costs

Public managers need a game plan for 2011.

December 16, 2010
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Public Money

Cutting Health Insurance Costs

The president's new initiative on quality health care deserves support. So does tort reform.

December 16, 2010
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Public Money

For Pension Funds, a Smarter Application of the 'Risk-Free Discount Rate'

Financial economics should apply to labor relations, not accounting.

December 2, 2010
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Public Money

Post-Election Retirement Plan Reform

It's not so simple as switching to a 401(k).

December 2, 2010
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Public Money

69 Is The New 65

The President's commission faces up to longevity. When will pension funds?

November 17, 2010
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Public Money

Middle Ground for Social Security and Medicare Reform

Three meaningful reform ideas worth sending to the lame ducks in Congress.

November 10, 2010
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Public Money

How to Run a Pension Fund -- Without Running It Into the Ground

Government finance officers tell it like it is. Will politicians finally listen?

November 4, 2010
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Public Money

Bending the Medical-Cost Curve

Health-care reformers say it can be done. Girard Miller doubts it.

October 21, 2010
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Public Money

Social Security and Medicare Costs Runaway

An actuarial autopilot is necessary if Congress won't bite the bullet to control costs.

October 14, 2010
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Public Money

A Fresh Look at Dysfunctional Pension Formulas

A team of researchers is rethinking the basis for calculating pensions.

October 7, 2010
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Public Money

Who Should Pay the Pension Bill?

As states face funding problems, retirees and employees will feel pressure to chip in.

October 1, 2010
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Public Money

A Ginnie Mae "in Every Pot"

The White House's mortgage relief strategy to enable underwater k彩平台owners to modify their current mortgages on more-favorable terms is too timid.

September 22, 2010
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Public Money

"Personal-izing" Social Security

Private accounts can work, but they're not for everyone.

September 15, 2010
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Public Money

Will the BOBs Window Reopen?

Several large employers might get a second chance at benefit obligation bonds.

June 17, 2010
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Public Money

Wanted: A Gold Standard for Pensions

Public officials who run pension plans should update their rule books.

June 1, 2010
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Public Money

Uncle, Can You Spare a Dime?

"Tough love" assistance from the feds might match the nation's mood.

May 13, 2010
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Public Money

Furlough Fever

Are four-day workweeks the beginning of a permanent trend or a passing phenomenon?

February 1, 2010
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Politics & Elections

Girard Miller's Benefit Beat: Bonding with OPEB

Some municipal bond underwriters are peddling the idea that public agencies should sell bonds now to "pre-fund" their promised retiree medical-benefit-plan liabilities.

April 1, 2007
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Management & Labor

Guest Quarter: Retirees and Realities

New Jersey's ill-fated pension reform plan is history. As 2006 drew to a close, the governor and legislature, hoping to pay for property-tax reduction through pension plan reforms, failed to come to an agreement--much to the relief of thousands of state workers, unionized and otherwise, who marched on Trenton to make known their concerns about benefit adjustments.

February 1, 2007
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Management & Labor

Girard Miller's Benefit Beat

It happens like clockwork. As soon as a magnanimous stock market boosts pension assets to high-water marks, pension raiders lurk around--they can't wait to get their hands on the "overfunded" portfolio.

June 1, 2010
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Management & Labor

Wellness--Or Else!

The latest buzzword in managing health care costs is "wellness"-- programs that emphasize prevention and personal accountability.

October 1, 2007
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Management & Labor

Pension Divestment Politics

State politicians have returned to the slippery slopes of social investing and pension divestment. In the 1980s, South Africa was the target. Last year, it was Sudan, followed quickly by Iran, and now "all terrorist nations" are on blacklists in some states.

August 1, 2007
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