Monday, June 22, 2015

The Potential Pension Initiative: Continued

We have previously blogged about a potential ballot initiative that would bar anything but defined contribution pensions after 2019. The proponents evidently had the $200 to file it but are hoping some wealthy sugar daddy or daddies will come along to finance a campaign to a) get the needed signatures for putting it on the 2016 ballot and b) then finance a campaign to get voters to support it.* Such an initiative would further complicate the pension challenges for UC created by the Committee of Two deal which would likely produce some kind of hybrid plan.  So far, no one has reported anything about sugar daddies that might have appeared. But it is evident that if the proposition got on the ballot, the opposition campaign would largely be financed by public sector unions.

One complication is that unions may have other ballot items to promote or oppose and there is a limit to how much they will want to spend in 2016. There may be some taxes on the ballot that will likely attract union financial support. Example:

Hoping to influence a special health care budget session, a coalition of labor and medical groups has put $2 million into an initiative to raise California’s tobacco tax and use the revenue to fund health care for low-income Californians. The money flowed from a coalition of groups that include SEIU California State Council – a union umbrella group whose members include thousands of health care workers – the California Medical Association, the California Dental Association, the American Cancer Society and groups promoting heart and lung health. Their twin ballot initiatives would impose a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund health programs that include smoking prevention and Medi-Cal, California’s health insurance program for low-income residents...

Full story at

Read more here:

There are other tax proposals that may be coming, too, such as a change in Prop 13 allowing a "split roll" with non-residential property in one way or another assessed differently (paying more than at present). Such a move would likely attract support of teachers' unions and others. We will see.

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