Pension and retirement benefits have always been at the mercy of the companies that issue them. Now, it appears that states and municipalities may also have the same legal right to alter – and cut – benefits to retirees, just as easily as corporate America can.

Two researchers at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently surveyed state constitutions for their amendments concerning state workers and the benefits afforded them for their years of service. The researchers, Alicia H. Munnell and Laura Quinby, who discussed their findings at length with the Sacramento Bee, concluded that retirement promises that were thought to be iron-clad may not be as unbending as first thought.

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