The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 18, 2012
Jerry Brown says public pension 'arithmetic doesn't add up'

Updated at 10:42 a.m. with Brown's extemporaneous remarks.

In this morning's State of the State address to the Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown said a little about public pensions and his proposal to change them at the state and local level. Here's what he said, reading from his prepared text:

"As for pensions, I have put forth my 12-point proposal. Examine it. Improve it. But please take up the issue and do something real. I am committed to pension reform because I believe there is a real problem. Three times as many people are retiring as are entering the workforce. That arithmetic doesn't add up. In addition, benefits, contributions and the age of retirement all have to balance. I don't believe they do today."

Then Brown deviated from his prepared remarks with these comments:

"Starting tomorrow if you work for 30 years, are you going to live to 80, 90, 110? How much is that? How many people are retired? How many people are working? How many people are coming along? How does it all work out? Anybody who tells me that you feel absolutely confident that 40 or 50 years from now things are all going to be paid for are not looking at the numbers and the other comparable investments."

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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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