Will pension reform save California cities from themselves?

Will pension reform save California cities from themselves?

Will pension reform save California cities from themselves?

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) made public employee pension reform a benchmark of his 2012 agenda. For most of this year, however, his Democratic colleagues met his call with a pronounced lack of enthusiasm. But with the session winding down to its final minutes, lawmakers last week endorsed a plan to bring what Brown called “radical change” to the state’s retirement system but which his critics said was insufficient.

Brown started his effort last October by issuing a 12-point pension reform plan he said would save the Golden State up to $11 billion over the next three decades. The Legislature’s Democratic majority, however, was hesitant to embrace the cause, ostensibly in fear of alienating their employee union base. Practically the only support Brown received came from legislative Republicans, who adopted the proposal as their own. But with polls showing that without pension reform voters were not inclined to support Brown’s other pet project for the year — a multi-billion dollar tax hike that Democrats also favor — lawmakers finally caved in and gave Brown a moderate portion of what he wanted. (Click to continue reading)

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