The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 10, 2011
Legislature setting table for public pension changes next year

Legislative leaders said late Friday that they'll hold hearings on public pensions between now and when the Legislature reconvenes in January, according to this report by The Bee's Torey Van Oot.

Here's the joint press release from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez:

SACRAMENTO - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) today announced the next steps the California Legislature will take to address challenges facing the state's pension systems, establishing a rare interim Conference Committee to fast forward consideration of the issue before the Legislature reconvenes in January.

In a joint statement Steinberg and Pérez said:

"We are eager to add improving the pension system to the other major agreements the Legislature and the Governor have arrived at this year.

"Pension issues have been discussed in various legislative venues throughout the year. The Governor has also been working on comprehensive pension proposals throughout the summer. Those efforts provide an important focal point to drive discussions forward to completion.

"We've already made major pension changes, including rolling back retirement formulas for new state employees and increasing current and future state employee contributions toward their retirement. Our intent is to build upon that foundation.

"The issue of public pensions includes a complex web of policy, fiscal and legal concerns. The Legislative Analyst's Office recently described potential legal problems and unexpected costs with various pension proposals. Recent stock market swings also require a thorough look at the impact of proposed reforms on CalPERS and CalSTRS assets, and consideration of alternatives to the current system.

"In the coming weeks, the Legislature will begin evaluating potential pension changes through a special conference committee to be Chaired by Assemblymember Warren Furutani (D-South Los Angeles County), Chair of the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee, and a Senator to be named later.

"The bipartisan Conference Committee composed of Assemblymembers and Senators will hold public hearings on pension reforms. In coordination with the Governor, the hearings will include participation from the Department of Finance, the Legislative Analyst's Office, CalPERS, CalSTRs and other key experts and stakeholders, and will report back to the Legislature when we reconvene in January."


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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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