The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 29, 2011
The State Worker's Top 10 of 2011: No. 6 -- Niello's pension plan

countdown 6.JPGThis is the latest installment in a series of posts looking back at the most-read State Worker blog items in 2011.

California's government pensions became political shorthand for both parties last year. Republicans used the issue to argue that government needs to cut back. Democrats defended public pensions as a last-stand for middle-class retirement security.

Throw in polls that show voters have some strong opinions about pensions and you can see why it's a tempting topic for politicians hoping to grab attention.

20110323_ha_budget5857 roger niello.JPGEnter former Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello, who filed a ballot proposal in March that would have raised the age factor for full retirement to 62 for public employees, capped pension payouts and increased the out-of-pocket contribution for many workers.

The plan opened Niello to charges that he was merely pressing a hot-button topic to fuel his political career.

Still, this Mar. 24 post, "Former lawmaker Niello proposes pension rollback initiative," created an immediate firestorm that lingered for months after Niello decided to shelve the plan. The State Worker still receives an occasional call or email asking whether the Niello plan has a shot at becoming law.

It doesn't.

Niello now supports California Pension Reform's efforts to cut pension costs with one of two initiatives it has submitted to the attorney general for titles and summaries.

PHOTO: Roger Niello / Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee file, 2010

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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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