David Crane, senior adviser for jobs and economic growth to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has responded to a press release by CalPERS board candidate J.J. Jelincic that criticized the administration's push for public employee pension reform as an "attack" on civil servants. You can read the TSW post of Jelincic's release by clicking here.
Here's part of what Crane said in an e-mail passed along to us by Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear:
It appears that Mr. Jelincic doesn't understand the governor's proposal or the impact on government programs from unfunded pension promises. But he is correct about one thing: No pension reform proposal can do anything about all the existing and massive unfunded pension liabilities already in place. Unfortunately, those massive costs were set in stone in 1999 when legislators passed legislation (SB400) that retroactively and prospectively increased pension benefits by tens of billions of dollars and compounded through decades of underfunding because of the use by CalPERS of GM-style pension accounting designed to understate the real cost of pension promises. Unfortunately we're seeing the terrible consequences of these actions today as billions are slashed from domestic violence shelters, health and human services, parks and recreation and more programs in order to pay off past unfunded pension promises.
Click here to read the entire unedited e-mail.