Mostly Good News On California Pensions

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

Cross posted CalWatchdog.com

Those of us who applauded the national backlash against the Obama administration’s big-government overreach have been straining to find good news in California, which defied the national trends by electing a slate of liberal Democrats and approving an initiative that makes it easier for the state’s Democrats to raise taxes and pass budgets without Republican help.

To make matters more depressing, a much-celebrated city initiative in San Francisco to rein in the crushing costs of pensions was handily defeated on Tuesday. The city’s progressive Democratic public defender, Jeff Adachi, sponsored Proposition B because public employee pensions were sapping the life out of other programs. I saw a grand opportunity to build a coalition between conservatives/libertarians and old-fashioned liberals who understand that lush and underfunded pensions threaten their values, too.

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Public Pay Study Seems Bogus

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

Cross posted www.calwatchdog.com.   

The media have been providing serious reporting about a "UC Berkeley" study showing that public employees earn a total salary and benefit package that’s about the same as those in the private sector. This counter-intuitive study is being championed by government advocates as a rebuttal to the public upset over public pay and pension scandals in cities such as Bell and San Diego.

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Wimpy Pension Deal

Steven Greenhut
Western Region Director of the R Street Institute

Cross posted at CalWatchdog.com

We got the heads up earlier that the governor had negotiated a
blockbuster pension deal with four public employee unions, but now we
see that this is no sort of deal. As the Bee reported, "Newly hired patrol officers and firefighters would come in under a
new pension formula that would allow them to retire at age 55 with 3
percent of the average of their highest three years of pay multiplied
by  their years of service up to 90 percent of that average wage.

Current  employees can retire at age 50. New and existing employees in
all  four groups would increase their pension contributions to the
California Public Employees’ Retirement System from the current 5
percent of their pay to 10 percent."

These are minor concessions that will have absolutely no effect on the
coming pension tsunami for retired public employees, many of whom are
members of the $100,000 Pension Club.

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