The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 15, 2008
Pension tension: Sutter County in trouble

Well, here's another one.

The Appeal Democrat on Sunday ran an op-ed piece from president of the Sutter County Taxpayers Association, calling for Sutter County to make significant changes to its public employee pension system, "which will eventually consume most of the county's budget."

The piece suggests four changes, including an Orange County-style requirement for a public vote on future pension benefits increases.

We've blogged about the OC's pension battles and its recently-passed Measure J. And Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis wants to overhaul the city's pension system by cutting retirement benefits for future city employees.

The Appeal Democrat piece also suggests that Sutter County employees pay their 8 percent or 9 percent share: "State employees pay a share into their retirement accounts, the vast majority of the private sector pay into their own retirement; county employees should too."

Disclaimer: City and county pay and benefits tend to eat up more of local governments' budgets than state worker pay and benefits. And while CalPERS assets have lost tens of billions of dollars over the last year, the fund is solvent and won't increase employer contributions until 2010 or 2011.

Still, these local pension trends are worth watching for signs of the public's mood toward funding government retirement. And you have to wonder if at some point the trend could bubble up into some sort of change at the state level for new hires.

You can read the Appeal Democrat piece by clicking here.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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