In my recent report “California Crowd-Out: How Rising Retirement Benefit Costs Threaten Municipal Services,” I document how rising public pension costs continue to deprive vital public services of funding. There’s only so much room in state and local budgets. When pension costs rise at a rate above revenues, taxpayers can expect less in terms of basic infrastructure maintenance, public safety, education, and quality-of-life services such as parks and libraries.
But it’s not only taxpayers who are getting a raw deal here. The status quo on pensions is not great for public workers, either.
California local government employees’ salaries grew 4.6 percentage points slower than private sector workers’ salaries over the past fifteen years. Same labor market, different takehome pay experiences.