Those Nutty Californians Want to Roll Back Public Pensions

Here’s something unexpected: the progressive collective of California voters appears to be sick and tired of supporting the exorbitant retirement schemes of our public servants.

A new poll by the Los Angeles Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences found that pension reform is supported in this state by a wide margin. Specifically…

  • 70% want to cap pensions for current and future public employees;
  • 68% say public workers must contribute more to their own retirement funds;
  • 52% support hiking the retirement age of government workers.

I wonder how that poll would go over in Fullerton?

18 Replies to “Those Nutty Californians Want to Roll Back Public Pensions”

  1. There are some good public servants who deserve the name, and there are also a shit load of bad ones who we all, given the civil service protections from being terminated, might want them to have the opportunity to be able to take early retirement. Unfortunately, the system with its over lucrative and performance blind pensions creates such incentive for those slugs and pricks to stay, that they will endure any reprimand that a good superior, after having second thoughts about being the subject of a complaint from the Union, might dole out for the under-performance. Its kind of like how when you were a kid you would wonder how many years you would be willing to spend in jail if you got a million bucks. But now for all those “servants” and “heros” its about several “million” and the nonsense is real.

  2. Would not be surprised this leads to some kind of ballot proposal to cap or limit public sector retirement, perhaps pay and benefits too. While that might be popular, it worries me if we start targeting groups we are upset with by means of ballot proposals designed to punhish them. I wonder what group would be the next target? Maybe an initiative to raise taxes on the so-called wealthy? Or a tax on parents with more than two children, or —? This could be a very slippery slope.

    1. Or we could continue to “punish” ourselves by working ’til we’re 70 so public employees can retire at 50 or 55 then go back to work as double dipping consultants making twice as much.

      This is really about equity.

  3. Admin – I agree that being able to retire at 50 or 55 with a large retirement income that one can live on is not appropriate for a career public sector employee. However, if someone works 20 years or so until eligible for retirement, quits and goes to work as a consultant or even as a full time employee some place in the private or public sector it seems to me that is the market system at work. LIfe is not equitable, the choices we make in employment, marriage, real estate, cars and myriad other life decisions result in inequity. That is reality. Informed decision making in these and other areas is the key, not intrusive government controls whether legislated or done by the ballot box.

  4. Market systems have zero to do with public workers. They work in the rarefied air of the monopolists.

    The “informed decision makers” sold us out a long time ago: Bankhead, Jones, and now the Pension Abuse Poster Boy, Pat McPension have no interest in our interests.

  5. To undo previously granted pension benefits would throw out our entire system on contract law. If they can unravel commitments made to public employees under previously negotiated contracts, then we can unravel all contracts like loans, business agreements, professional services agreements, all of them. We would effectively no longer function as a society of laws. You can limit future employees benefits but you can’t touch current employees benefits. The California Supreme Court refused to hear the county’s case and if such an initiative were to be passed by voters it would be immediately tossed by the courts. Your only option at this point is to reduce your workforce and contract with the private sector For most of the services local government provides.

    1. The Little Hoover commission does point out that the courts have not ruled out correcting future pension accumulations for current employees. The unions like to suggest the courts will not allow this but it is mere puffery. No such case preventing changing the formulas on a going forward basis exists. The question is do the elected have the guts to do this?

  6. Mango :
    you can’t touch current employees benefits.

    Everything is negotiable. Kind of hard to earn those PERS credits if your ass is unemployed. Or they’ll be worth a lot less if you get hit with a 30% pay cut. All within the realm of possibility.

  7. Why dont you guys ever bring up the real structural problems with the state, such as prop 13 (especially on commercial real estate), the initiative process, and the overall tax code? Public Employee pensions are a problem, a very solveable problem at that, but the systemic issues go much deeper, you all seem to be fairly short sighted.

    1. Your fixes to “structural problems” just mean more taking from taxpayers. The problem is overspending.

      1. There is a structural problem. California is the only state in the country to be without an oil extraction tax in a time when oil companies are making record profits.

        Prop. 13 is wildly unequal: I pay more in property tax for my house than my folks do for a house that is worth more than mine. Corporations, which live forever, get to keep this Prop. 13 benefit, theoretically, forever if they don’t sell their property (which is why it was really written in the first place).

        Yes, it’s galling to think that a public employee can retire at 50 with significant benefits on my dime, but all the renegotiating in the world is not going to solve California’s fiscal problems in the long run.

        By the way, is PERS invested in the same oil companies that could be paying an extraction tax that could fund education?

  8. Maybe Norby’s Vote will make the difference?

    Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, was the third least likely to vote. If you include the times he abstained, he skipped 32.7 percent of the votes taken after he was elected in a mid-term special election.

    Maybe Norby is too busy making dripping pirate patches, beating his old lady or sleeping in the bushes to vote?

  9. Fullerton Shadow – my intent was to communicate that each of us should be our own informed decision maker when it comes to making life decisions, including what career path we pursue and where we choose to work. I do not buy the approach to life that chooses to label our personal circumstance at any given time as that of a victim at the hands of others and that our personal life decisions have little to do with our current circumstance. We make our own beds in most cases, and doing one’s homework to become informed makes for better beds. In my view, a concern about equity, as voiced by Admin., fails to recognize that if one works in a job with less pay and benefits it was their decision to work there vs. a place wtih better pay and benefits and to later complain about the difference is really saying they made a bad choice. It’s a personal responsibility thing. For decades government jobs have been known to be more secure and offer better benefits than many other jobs, that is why some people chose to work for the government – a life decision. (Some who work for government are now finding out however that their jobs are not as secure as they thought.)

  10. Polling Strategies found in a February statewide phone poll of registered voter households that 53.4% vs. 35.5% of over 1,300 Californians who responded to our call would NOT vote to raise or extend taxes and fees. This 18 point difference was clear — Brown and the Democrats will fail, whether or not they get tax increases on the November ballot.

    We called over 54,000 voter households and are more than confident with our results. We asked a dozen tax-related questions and found the Brown administration needs to develop a far different strategy than continuing to attack the middle-class and drive businesses out of the state.

    Our results can be found at our website, or downloaded here:

  11. Bring the Jerry Brown pension tax hikes on!!!!! They will get blasted back into the stone ages.

    Right next to them put salary and pension CUTS and as JB loves to say-let the PEOPLE DECIDE!

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