The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 29, 2011
A.M. Reading: More about pension reform; two state officials arrested; Wis. law OKs guns in Capitol

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifCalSTRS gives staff $1.79 million in bonuses
CalSTRS increased staff bonuses 11% to $1.79 million for the 12 months ended June 30 after posting the biggest gain since 1986. (Pensions and Investments)

Brown's pension plan leaves out CalSTRS
What about CalSTRS? Despite two years of lobbying from the teachers' retirement fund, a plan to shore up CalSTRS' finances was missing from Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reform proposal this week. (Sacramento Bee)

PD Editorial: Brown's sensible pension plan
On Oct. 31, nearly five centuries ago, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany, an event widely regarded as the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation. On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown presented his own theses -- 12 in all -- identifying the problems and potential solutions to the growing public employee pension crisis. It remains to be seen whether the politics surrounding this issue will allow his plan to be a catalyst for any kind of policy reformation. But on matters of principle and common sense, it's fair to say the governor nailed it. (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

David Crane: How about a race to reform state pensions?
President Obama has proposed that the federal government provide $35 billion to assist state budgets. It's a fine idea -- provided there's a carrot. (Washington Post)

Link Pension Reform With Tax Increases
How about a trade -- rollbacks in public employee pensions in exchange for a tax increase? (NBC Bay Area)

California Finance Director Ana Matosantos arrested in DUI case
State Finance Director Ana Matosantos was arrested early Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence after officials said they saw her car swerving near the Capitol and its registration expired. (Sacramento Bee)

California assemblywoman Mary Hayashi charged with felony grand theft
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi has been charged with felony grand theft after allegedly being caught by security officers stealing nearly $2,500 in clothing from a San Francisco Neiman Marcus store. (Sacramento Bee)

Calif. cities take pension reform to the ballot
SACRAMENTO, Calif.--San Francisco's public pension system took a beating during the recession, which has left it carrying a hefty unfunded liability for its 26,000 current and 28,000 retired employees. The city's pension obligation is growing by $100 million a year, leaving less funding for police and fire protection, park maintenance and health services for the needy. Unable to keep up, San Francisco is among several California cities asking voters to help tackle the public pension problem--which is now one of the biggest causes of municipal budget shortfalls. (Mercury News)

California To Cut Elite Secret Agents On Crime Task Forces
SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Association of Special Agents - which represents law enforcement personnel assigned to 52 criminal task forces in California - told CBS 5 on Thursday night that the state plans to cut half of all the task force agents statewide due to the budget crisis. (CBS 5)

Guns To Be Permitted In Wisconsin Capitol, But Not Signs
Lawmakers in Wisconsin are about to experience a growing trend in America firsthand. Under a policy being developed by Gov. Scott Walker, the public will be able to carry guns in most parts of the state capital, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Guns would be allowed on the floor of the Assembly and in its viewing galleries, but it would be up to individual lawmakers whether they'd be permitted in their offices, the Journal-Sentinel reported. A decision has not yet been reached about the floor and galleries of the state Senate.

Wis. justices to discuss weapons in court chambers
MADISON, Wis.-- Wisconsin's Supreme Court justices plan to discuss polices on concealed weapons in their state Capitol chambers next month. The state's new concealed carry law goes into effect Tuesday. The statutes generally prohibit the public from bringing hidden weapons into courthouses, but allow judges and prosecutors to go armed. (Chicago Tribune)

RI unions say pension problem overstated
PROVIDENCE, R.I.--Rhode Island labor unions that are fighting a proposed public pension overhaul accused state Treasurer Gina Raimondo on Thursday of overstating the problem to justify extreme changes. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Biden rips Scott as part of new wave of republicans
Highlighting the importance of the nation's largest swing state -- and perhaps giving a preview of Democrats' strategy here -- Biden spoke at a dinner kicking off state Democrats' weekend convention and, earlier in the day, a gathering sponsored by the Florida Education Association, the state's main teachers' union. (Florida Courier)

Government employment grew in 22 states, analysis finds
Nearly half the states added government jobs in the past four years, a period that included the Great Recession and usually is associated with layoffs in the public sector. (Stateline.org)

Proposition 103 in Colorado to test voters' willingness to raise taxes
When Colorado voters go to the polls November 1, the only statewide issue on the ballot will be Proposition 103, a measure that would increase sales and income taxes to provide money for public education. (Stateline.org)

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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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