CPA and President of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility
Originally published in the Sacramento Bee.
The recession deserves most – but not all – of the blame for the 1,200 layoff notices mailed to Sacramento area teachers this year.
You can also blame California’s public pension system, which drains at least $3 billion from state coffers that could be saved if prison guards, California Highway Patrol officers and Caltrans workers retired with benefits comparable in value to those provided by Cisco, Chevron and Safeway.
Proposition 98, which guarantees a level of school funding, would make sure schools get their share. Teachers’ jobs would be saved and program cuts would be less severe.
The California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility released a study earlier this month showing that private and public employees earn comparable salaries for comparable jobs, but that state and local governments provide retirement benefits that are three times as generous as those provided by California’s largest companies.
This year, a 45-year-old state employee earning $60,000 annually will accumulate retirement benefits valued at $19,000. A comparably paid employee of a large private company receives retirement benefits worth less than $6,000.