Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has responded to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's criticism of the administration's bargaining tactics and topics. Here's a snippet of a letter just released by the governor's office:
The CalPERS transparency legislation you referenced in your letter is most definitely among the issues being raised in negotiations with the unions. As I have made clear since my State of the State address in January, our unsustainable pension costs must be addressed this year. I have tried to be as up front about this as I possibly can: I will not sign a budget this year without budget reform and pension reform.
While my administration is negotiating in good faith with the unions on all aspects of the pension reform measures we are proposing, there are four elements that must be done legislatively separate and apart from any memorandums of understanding:
- Roll back the expansion of pension benefits adopted in Senate Bill 400 (Chapter 555, Statutes of 1999) for all new hires upon adoption by the Legislature.
- Permanent five percent increase in employee pre-tax contribution toward retirement benefits.
- Calculate the retirement rate based on the highest three years of wages during employment instead of the highest single year.
- Require the CalPERS' chief actuary to submit a report to the Legislature on investment return assumptions based on both lower and higher estimates than the actuarial return assumption and have this report evaluated by a qualified third party.