The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 21, 2010
Schwarzenegger, Hollingsworth introduce pension rollback bill

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, called today for significant changes to state employee retirement benefits during a press event to announce the Senate Republican leader's pension and health benefit bill, SB 919.

As of the 2 p.m. press conference, the measure's language hadn't been posted to the Web. A fact sheet distributed by Hollingsworth operatives highlights the proposed changes for new hires, including:

  • Reducing the formula for non-public safety employees by adding 10 years to full retirement eligibility age, which would be 65.
  • Changing the retirement formula for CHP, firefighters, correctional officers and other peace officers from the current 3 percent at 50 to 2.7 percent at age 57.
  • Returning milk inspectors, billboard inspectors given a state safety classification to the miscellaneous/industrial classification (and the lower benefits that go with the change) that they had before SB 183's passage in 2002.
  • Changing the calculation for retirement benefits for all from the highest single year to an average of the highest 3 years.
  • Eliminating the exemption on the first $200 of wages that goes into calculating CalPERS employee contributions to the fund.

It also makes some changes to the health benefit program:

  • Adds 5 years to the length of service time (currently 20 years) required to be fully vested for the retiree health care benefits.
  • Gives the state the authority to purchase health insurance on its own instead of through CalPERS.
  • Cuts the state's contribution to retiree health care costs from 100 percent of the average HMO cost to about 85 percent, matching the contribution made for active employees.

We'll be posting more about this, and we're writing about it for tomorrow's State Worker column. Stay tuned.

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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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