The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 28, 2012
Majority of California voters say pension reform balanced or went too far

More than half of likely California voters think recent changes to public pensions strike a good balance or go too far, according to a new poll by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times.

The poll mirrors a similar survey by the Field Poll and UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies released last week.

When asked about the public pension reform measure,-- which increases employees' retirement account contributions, lowers the benefits and increases the retirement age for future hires -- 33 percent of the USC respondents said it struck a "good balance" between reforms and curtailing state debt. Another 19 percent said it went too far, with 32 percent stating it didn't go far enough. The rest, 16 percent, had no opinion.

The Field Poll also asked likely voters what they thought about the new pension reform law: 39 percent said the changes were about right, 18 percent said they went too far, 26 percent thought the reforms didn't go far enough and 17 percent had no opinion.

Union leaders and Democrats hoping that voters will pass Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot, Proposition 30, are probably encouraged that more than half of likely voters think the pension reforms stuck a balance or are too burdensome for public employees.

The governor said voters would be more likely to vote for his tax measure if majority Democrats in the statehouse showed they were willing to offend their union base and pass pension reform.

The unions complained bitterly when Brown unveiled the plan, although many pension reform advocates charged that organized labor's reaction was aimed at building support for Proposition 30.

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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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