The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 22, 2009
Pension contract initiative gets OK for petition circulation

090122 Voting Machines.jpgState workers be warned. Paul McCauley has taken aim on your pensions.

The Santa Monica CPA on Wednesday gained permission to collect petition qualify The McCauley Public Pension Reform Act, an initiative that would change California's Constitution to allow public employee pension contracts to be renegotiated. He now has 150 days to collect 694,354 signatures to get the measure on a statewide ballot.

McCauley is into writing initiatives -- big time.

Last summer he drew up a plan called The McCauley-Rooker Wealth Tax and Oceans Preservation Act, which sought a massive tax hike that the state would use to buy a majority stake in oil companies, automakers and financial firms.

The state would also throw around its majority shareholder clout to influence the companies' environmental practices. Profits from those holdings would have gone to environmental preservation efforts. Another reason for the plan, according to official filings: "The concentration of wealth in the hands of a few is inconsistent with the tenets of a democratic society."

The San Diego Union-Tribune in this November op-ed called the proposal "absurd" and proof that the state initiative process needs serious reform.

Undaunted by critics, and the fact that he was going to miss the Jan. 2 petition signature deadline, McCauley resubmitted the measure, according to the Secretary of State's Web site, as The McCauley-Rooker Wealth Tax and Oceans Preservation Act - Version 2.

And McCauley has two other initiatives in the signature gathering phase. This one would extend term limits for legislators who don't take campaign contributions or accept "privately funded junkets."

Then there's The McCauley Legislative Reform Act, which changes the state Constitution to permit legislators who do not receive contributions or accept "privately-funded junkets" to remain in office and serve additional terms without election.

We're trying to contact McCauley about his pension plan and to get his assessment of the likelihood of getting the pension initiative before voters.

You can click here to read the Secretary of State's press release about McCauley's pension measure.

IMAGE: A voting machine demonstration / Sacramento Bee - Associated Press, 2007

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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


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