Retirement programs for public employees are under siege, with numerous state and local employers either undertaking or considering massive restructuring of their benefit plans. The constraint comes as state budgets constrict and asset values drop.

Financial services giant ING, which provides planning and service to 22 states and some 4,300 towns and municipalities, has unveiled a comprehensive research framework for public employers contemplating such a change, including a detailed checklist to help untangle what can be an intense political and emotional fight.

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