Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez vowed today that his chamber will take action this month on comprehensive public pension reform, including controversial practices known as spiking and airtime.
Pérez's comments came during a Capitol news conference at which he discussed legislative accomplishments and priority issues to be addressed before the session adjourns for the year Aug. 31.
The Los Angeles Democrat said he expects the Assembly to address "all 12 issue areas" targeted by Gov. Jerry Brown in a wide-ranging plan released in October 2011 to curb rising pension costs.
"They may not be in exactly the way that the governor addresses them, nor should they be," he said of proposals expected to be approved by the Legislature in response to the governor's 12-point plan.
"We're going to build on the 12-point plan that the governor put out, and actually expand on it," he said.
Brown's plan contains some provisions aimed specifically at new and local workers, while others would apply to existing employees, too.
The governor would offer new state and local employees a less generous retirement package, a "hybrid" system combining a smaller, defined benefit, Social Security and a 401(k)-style benefit. Retirement age would be increased to 67, from 62 for most such employees now.
Under Brown's plan, current and future employees would be required to pay more for their pension. The state would eliminate airtime -- the practice of buying years of service time - and would restrict "double dipping" in which retirees return to work for the government, receiving both a pension and paycheck.
Brown also wants to crack down on the spiking of pensions through short-term promotions or raises shortly before retirement.
Pérez declined to discuss specific areas of pension agreement and disagreement with Brown.
"We want to go after people that have engaged in objectionable practices like spiking and airtime, we want to really create good, broad-based reform, but we want to do it in a way that's not punitive to the average pension recipient who's getting by on pensions in the $30,000s that are not objectionable to any of us," he said. "We think we're going to be successful there."