Thursday, September 30, 2010

More on Growing Public Pension Issue In California

As noted in previous posts on this blog, the UC pension funding issue may be difficult to isolate from the more general issue in California, particularly if the Regents don't have a policy in place when the next governor takes office. Below is an excerpt from a piece reporting on a variety of local ballot initiatives on the pension topic, especially a high-profile San Francisco ballot measure.

Pension cost cuts on ballot in eight cities (excerpt)

Ed Mendel,, 9/30/10

Proposals to cut public employee pension costs are on the November ballot in at least eight California cities and one county, led by a measure in San Francisco that is drawing national attention. The local proposals could be a warm-up for a statewide pension measure backed by Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor, if she is elected and cannot get big state worker unions to agree to switch new hires to 401(k)-style plans. Talks or action to cut pension benefits were under way in more than 60 local government agencies last summer. A half dozen of the smaller state worker unions agreed to lower benefit for new hires, including the California Highway Patrol…

A ballot measure in San Francisco, Proposition B, is drawing national interest because in a very liberal city it’s basically a battle among Democrats, the traditional allies of public employee unions. The initiative drive is led by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose office providing attorneys for the poor was hit by budget cuts. Signature-gathering money came from Michael Moritz, an early Google investor, and his novelist wife, Harriet Heyman. A well-known supporter of the measure is Willie Brown, a former San Francisco mayor and state Assembly Speaker. He has become an outspoken advocate of reining in public employee pension costs.

Proposition B would require city employees to contribute 9 to 10 percent of their pay to help pay for their pensions, up from 0 to 9 percent. Importantly, employees would pay 50 percent of dependent health care costs, up from 25 percent…

One of the provisions in Proposition B would require arbitrators in labor disputes to make projections of the cost of increased pension and health benefits and to treat them as pay raises…

Full article at

Bottom line, as the song says, is that time is running out for UC on this matter:

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