Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Voters Support Benefit Rollback for Public Workers in California

Jammie had yesterday's headline of the day, "Shock Poll: Extremist Teabagger Californians Want Givebacks From Public Employees."

See Los Angeles Times, "California voters want public employees to help ease state's financial troubles":
California voters want government employees to give up some retirement benefits to help ease the state's financial problems, favoring a cap on pensions and a later age for collecting them, according to a new poll.

Voter support for rolling back benefits available to few outside the public sector comes as Gov. Jerry Brown and Republicans in the Legislature haggle over changes to the pension system as part of state budget negotiations. Such benefits have been a flashpoint of national debate this year, and the poll shows that Californians are among those who perceive public retirement plans to be too costly.

Voters appear ready to embrace changes not just for future hires but also for current employees who have been promised the benefits under contract.

Seventy percent of respondents said they supported a cap on pensions for current and future public employees. Nearly as many, 68%, approved of raising the amount of money government workers should be required to contribute to their retirement. Increasing the age at which government employees may collect pensions was favored by 52%.

Although pension costs today account for just a fraction of the state budget, they are putting local governments under considerable financial strain, and analysts say effects on the state may not be far off.

"It's pretty clear that there's broad support for making changes in the area of pensions," said Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who co-directed the bipartisan poll for The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
RTWT at the link above.

I've been making this argument at my college, especially during last year's negotiations over contract renewal. And earlier today I e-mailed this story to the college community, and one of my colleagues wrote back, saying: "I don't think the union leadership reads the newspapers."



Dennis said...

If, as a government employee, one is not doing the best one can to improve the business climate in one's state or country there will be a price to pay. There is a rule here that reads, "Ensure that the taxpayers are doing well and then you will do well."
It can be done within the applicable laws. Help the business or organization to meet those requirements. When the state makes itself into the enemy then the state will be the enemy.
Happy, prosperous individuals will not begrudge a government worker doing well when they are doing well.
The taxpayers do not work for the state or country, the state or country works for them. Ignore this at considerable peril.
California, as well as a number of states, has this problem because the government has forgotten for who they work. I would advise that government workers need to start making deals while they still can. If they expect a politician to protect them then they have not paid much attention to the actions of politicians. Unions are more interested in power and will not be there when it affects their worldwide aspirations.