The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 12, 2011
CalPERS blasts 'flawed' public pension report, proposals

CalPERS says a report issued last week that questions the sustainability of defined-benefit public pensions is "flawed" and that various fixes it considers are either inequitable or illegal.

The fund is firing back at "Comparing Public and Private Employee Compensation and Retirement Benefits in California," commissioned by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a pension-change advocacy organization based in Citrus Heights.

The study by Capitol Matrix Consulting, a firm co-founded by former state Finance Department Director Mike Genest, says that California's state and local government employees' pay is roughly equal to counterparts' salaries in the private sector, but pension and health benefits push public workers' total compensation costs about 10 percent higher.

It considers several options proposed by the foundation to close that gap, such as eliminating health benefits for spouses and dependents of retirees when a retiree turns 65 .

CalPERS says the report makes flawed assumptions, uses flawed methods, lacks specifics and takes a race-to-the-bottom, anti-pension posture. The fund's reply is embedded below and was just posted on the CalPERS Responds website.
CalPERS' Key Observations of CFFR Study

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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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