Yesterday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, no stranger to bold reforms, unveiled a comprehensive proposal to bring pension reform to the Bayou State, making Louisiana the latest state to be swept up in the movement to rein-in out of control public employee costs. Late last year Rhode Island undertook massive reform and now Virginia - and even Illinois and New York - are on the verge of action. As reported in in the Times-Picayune, Governor Jindal's proposal aims to move some new workers to a 401(k)-style plan, increase the retirement age for some existing employees, and require increased contributions from some in the existing systems. Most notably, the "cash-balance plan" aspires to close a yawning $18.5 billion gap between the amount of money in the system and the funds needed to pay promised benefits.
Earlier this week, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, under the leadership of Kevin Kane, released the "The Big Debt." This five-point guide for understanding Louisiana's biggest pension problem - it's unfunded accrued liability - has been making its way around Baton Rouge and is helping so shape the debate in a real way. This latest effort at meaningful pension reform should serve as a model to other governors who are serious about putting their state's finances on sound footing.