CalPERS has just issued a 20-page paper (embedded at the end of this post) that lays out several legal reasons that pension promises made to current employees and retirees can't be altered.
"Vested Rights of CalPERS Members: Protecting the pension promises made to public employees" says, "This paper is not intended to respond to any particular proposed legislation or initiative." Still, it's hard to imagine it would have been written without suggestions by The Little Hoover Commission and others that state and local governments should roll back pensions for existing employees, dump guaranteed retirement payouts and put more of the pension burden on workers.
The CalPERS paper says that the California Public Employees' Retirement Law, the state constitution and the U.S. Constitution all prevent altering pensions promised to current employees. It also details a list of "non-vested" rights that can be altered, such as the price of service credit.
PHOTO: CalPERS headquarters in Sacramento, Sacramento Bee file