Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Article on The Public Pension Crisis Through the Lens of State Constitutions and Statutory Law

PensionKristen Barnes publish an Article entitled, The Public Pension Crisis Through the Lens of State Constitutions and Statutory Law, Wills, Trusts, and Estate Law eJournal (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Many cities and states are attempting to address their budgetary challenges by adopting legal measures that erode public pension benefits. State and local governments have taken the position that, for the good of the people, the pensions of public employees must be substantially revised. Public pensioners have drawn upon constitutional provisions and statutes in defense of their benefits. Their success often depends upon the strength of laws pertaining to pension rights and judicial interpretation of pension provisions and other laws, which at times may not specifically relate to pensions, but are nonetheless designed to reinforce sanctity of contract principles or protect property. This paper explores the relevance of state constitutions for managing the seemingly insurmountable debt crises that some municipalities and states are facing with respect to public pensions. It analyzes the substantive differences in the way that pension rights are constructed and the role that judicial interpretation plays in the protection of those rights. It also takes a position regarding how governments should weigh the interests of public employees with those of the broader public, as they develop solutions to fiscal challenges. Finally, the paper explores where the federal government fits in this era of state and local governmental crisis.


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