The reason the liberal governor sides with government pension benefit cuts is because he has too—CA is running out of money.
The promise of a extravagant government pension benefit allowed politicians to buy the votes of public union workers and not have to worry about the costs of those benefits for many years. By that time, the politician would have moved on or retired.
While I hate seeing people’s retirements cut, they should never have believed in those unfulfillable promises. Whether the courts side with Jerry Brown or now, those pension benefits are going to shrink. They simple can’t tax the populace enough to pay them.
The Associated Press reports, “Lawsuits threaten pension cuts for California state workers.”
For decades in California, a sacrosanct rule has governed public employees’ pensions: Benefits promised can never be taken away.
But cases before the state Supreme Court threaten to reverse that premise and open the door to benefit cuts for workers still on the job.
The lawsuits have enormous implications for California cities, counties, schools, fire districts and other local bodies facing a sharp rise in their pension costs.
The ballooning expenses are an issue that Gov. Jerry Brown will face in his final year in office despite his earlier efforts to reform the state’s pension systems and pay down massive unfunded liabilities.
His office has taken the unusual step of arguing one case itself, pushing aside Attorney General Xavier Becerra and making a forceful pitch for the Legislature’s right to limit benefits.
At issue is the “California Rule,” which dates to court rulings beginning in 1947. It says workers enter a contract with their employer on their first day of work, entitling them to retirement benefits that can never be diminished unless replaced with similar benefits.
It gives workers security that their retirement will be safe and predictable after a career in public service. But it also ties lawmakers’ hands in responding to exploding pension costs.
It’s widely accepted that retirement benefits linked to work already performed cannot be touched. But the California Rule is controversial because it prohibits even prospective changes for work the employee has not yet done.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com