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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Proposed Ballot Measure Would Cut Public Pensions In California

CBS13A proposed ballot measure unveiled Thursday would reduce pension payments for state and local government employees in the nation’s most populous state.

Former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio and former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed will try to tap the same sense of unease that led voters in those cities to approve pension-cutting plans for city workers in 2012 and apply it on a much bigger scale. Supporters say pension liabilities will keep libraries closed, potholes unfilled and deprive taxpayers of basic public services.

The measure would extend to state, county, and city employees in California, as well as public schools, public universities and other local boards and agencies. It will face spirited opposition from organized labor.

The proposal would require voter approval for any defined benefit for new hires and pension increases for existing workers. It also says voters would have to allow the government to cut pensions or contribute more than half of an employee’s retirement costs.

“We’re not making the decision on what type of plan will be implemented,” DeMaio said. “We’re simply saying, going forward, voters will have a seat at the table.”

Attorney General Kamala Harris must craft a title and short summary before backers can begin collecting 585,407 voter signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. The number of signatures – based on turnout in the last statewide election in 2014 – is a relatively low threshold and is expected to produce a crowded ballot topped by the U.S. presidential race. continue reading...

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