The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 16, 2011
Labor coalition responds to California Pension Reform changes

maviglio.JPGSteve Maviglio, spokesman for Californians for Retirement Security, read this morning's report about tweaks to two pension reform ballot proposals and emailed a comment on behalf of the labor coalition:

"They can shop this measure to lawyers on the East Coast and try to get their funding from an Enron billionaire from Texas," Maviglio said in the email to The State Worker, "but at the end of the day, as the LAO has said, trying to slash the retirement benefits of California's public workers is unconstitutional, period."

What the Legislative Analyst's Office said was this:

Our reading of California's pension case law is that it will be very difficult--perhaps impossible--for the Legislature, local governments, or voters to mandate such changes for many current public workers and retirees. Moreover, employer savings from these changes likely will be offset to some extent by higher salaries or other benefits for affected workers. Given all of these challenges, we advise the Legislature to focus primarily on changes to future workers' benefits. Such changes should produce net taxpayer savings only over the long run but are certain to be legally viable.

That paragraph was tucked into a recent LAO analysis of Gov. Jerry Brown's pension rollback proposals, which included some changes for current employees, not the California Pension Reform plans that we reported on today. Still, it's clear that the LAO's conclusion has consequences for the two pension proposals by California Pension Reform, since like Brown's plan, some aspects would affect present government employees.

Click here for more about the LAO's pension proposal review.

Look for a formal state analysis of the CPR proposals next month when the attorney general issues official titles and summaries for both.

PHOTO: Steve Maviglio testifies before a legislative committee in 2004. Sacramento Bee file.

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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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