California pension changes pass handily

sacto3.jpgNot much doubt about this one - a 49-8 vote in the Assembly and 38-1 in the Senate. This is not the package that Gov. Brown proposed last year, but it was the best he was going to get out of a legislature that's been heavily influenced by public unions. Even many Republicans went for it. The measure increases the retirement age for new employees, requires new and current workers to contribute half of their pension costs, and caps benefits at a certain salary level. It also eliminates such abuses as pension spiking, where retirement payouts are inflated by manipulating overtime and unused vacation. What it won't do is provide much relief to the state's current debt problems because the brunt of the savings are years away. Even so, Brown calls it "the most far-reaching pension reform in the history of California." From AP:

"What we have before us is not pension reform, but a pension change," said Sen. Mimi Walters, a Republican from the Orange County community of Lake Forest. "While I will support this measure today, it is my hope that our vote today will be the beginning of achieving real reform and taking on the challenge of our unfunded pension liability." She and other Republicans also noted that none of the changes was enshrined in the state constitution, meaning they can be changed by a majority vote of a future legislature.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
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