Saturday, October 29, 2011

Brown Risks Backlash on Pensions

This is one case where fiscal reality trumps destructive progressive ideology. Pigs will fly if he actually gets this through the legislature.

At Los Angeles Times, "Gov. Jerry Brown risks backlash on pension plan":
Reporting from Sacramento -- Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a sweeping overhaul of California pensions that would require public employees to pay more for their retirement and cut benefits for those hired in the future, setting the stage for a fierce battle with fellow Democrats and some of his main political supporters: unions representing government workers.

Brown's 12-point plan, announced Thursday, would require that all public workers have at least half the cost of their pensions deducted from their paychecks. Most state employees already make that contribution, but many in cities, counties and school districts across the state pitch in far less.

The governor also wants future employees to receive up to a third of their retirement income from a 401(k)-style plan rather than a traditional guaranteed pension. And he urged that the retirement age for most new public workers be raised from 55 to 67.

"I try to protect working people whenever I can," said Brown, 73, "but I'm also responsible to the taxpayer and making sure we have a solvent state government."

California's public pension system has been strained by ballooning obligations to current and future retirees. Brown, who says he does not draw a pension, has called the system unaffordable and unsustainable. He wants to cut the state's long-term pension needs in half.

His plan would have to pass the Legislature, which is dominated by Democrats whose close political allies include labor unions. Brown would need the approval of two-thirds of state lawmakers to place key parts of it on the November 2012 ballot for voters to consider.