Despite the ridicule heaped on bonuses offered public workers for simply doing their jobs – just one prime example: a librarian earning a bonus for helping members of the public find books – the California Retirement System (CalPERS) board last week made sure the bonuses added to salaries will be part of pension calculations.
While the exact cost to taxpayers is uncertain, the price tag for pensions because of this move is certain to go up. State and local governments have contributed four times to CalPERS what they contributed just a decade ago.
Local budgets are being eaten away by the pension and health care obligations. In the City of Los Angeles, for example, pensions costs took 3% of the city budget in 2002-3, it was eating 18% of the budget in 2012-13.