Facing the twin blights of constrained state budgets and eroding market value amid the still-sputtering economy, retirement programs for public employees are under siege, with numerous state and local employers either undertaking or considering massive restructuring of their benefit plans.

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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