States from South Carolina to Alaska are discussing a move toward defined contribution plans for government employees.
Among the states considering action following recent proposals in California to put all new public employees in defined contribution plans:
• South Carolina, where Republican Gov. Mark Sanford has said he will introduce legislation to form a mandatory defined contribution plan for public employees;
• Virginia, where Republican state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli introduced a bill to authorize a study on adding a new defined contribution plan for public employees;
• Alaska, where Republican state Sen. Bert Stedman is leading a legislative work group to study switching public employees to defined contribution plans;
• New Mexico, where the Legislature has endorsed a proposal that would require the $7.3 billion Educational Retirement Association, to do a study on changing the system to a defined contribution plan;
• Maryland, where Gov. Robert Ehrlich last spring proposed shifting the cost of teacher pensions to local governments from state government, which could force the teachers into defined contribution plans;
• Georgia, where elected officials in the Republican-led Legislature are investigating the possibility of starting a defined contribution plan; and
• Minnesota, where Republicans in the Legislature are likely to introduce a defined contribution bill this year, although it is considered unlikely to become law.
And while no steps have been taken, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in testimony before the New York Legislature early last year, said a study by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, that proposed switching public employees to a defined contribution plan was "worth considering."