Articles for category General News
The California State Retirees Board of Directors is endorsing the following candidates in the Nov. 6 General Election.
Recommendations were made to the board by the CSR Political Action Committee (PAC), which considers each candidate’s voting record on issues such as protecting pensions and health benefits for state retirees.
Lawmakers charged with overhauling California's state and local public pension law are considering a plan to cap defined benefit pensions that would not include a second 401(k)-style component common in so-called "hybrid" retirement plans. "There will be a cap," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, during a hallway press conference this afternoon with Capitol reporters.
By PAUL KRUGMAN
New York Times
Over the past few days, The New York Times has published several terrifying reports about New Jersey’s system of halfway houses — privately run adjuncts to the regular system of prisons. The series is a model of investigative reporting, which everyone should read. But it should also be seen in context. The horrors described are part of a broader pattern in which essential functions of government are being both privatized and degraded.
First of all, about those halfway houses: In 2010, Chris Christie, the state’s governor — who has close personal ties to Community Education Centers, the largest operator of these facilities, and who once worked as a lobbyist for the firm — described the company’s operations as “representing the very best of the human spirit.” But The Times’s reports instead portray something closer to hell on earth — an understaffed, poorly run system, with a demoralized work force, from which the most dangerous individuals often escape to wreak havoc, while relatively mild offenders face terror and abuse at the hands of other inmates.
As Friday's state budget deadline approaches, a little-noticed provision in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal would cut off thousands of retirees who return to work for the state.
The idea targets all but the most essential of the state's so-called "retired annuitants," a group of about 5,800 workers who drew $110 million in pay from the state last year on top of their pensions.
The Democratic governor's proposal could strike a chord with taxpayers by appearing to crack down on double-dipping. It also appeals to public employee unions – which want to eliminate jobs they believe stunt the growth of the regular workforce – at the same time he's asking union workers to accept furloughs and a 5 percent pay cut.
Tuesday's landslide pension reform votes in San Diego and San Jose were just the early tremors in what could become a public pension earthquake by the end of this month.
The big question: What does this mean for pension reform legislation at the Capitol?
Gov. Jerry Brown, who has floated a 12-point pension reform plan, told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter on Wednesday that the vote in liberal San Jose was "a very powerful signal" that pension reform is "an imperative" that he's putting "at the top of the agenda." Brown thinks pension reform will make his tax initiative more palatable to voters in November, although he hasn't talked about it much until now.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won a vote to keep his job on Tuesday, surviving a recall effort that turned the Republican into a conservative icon and his state into the first battleground in a bitter, expensive election year.
Walker defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D). That made Walker the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election; two others had failed.
Exit polls showed that Democrats had captured nearly 69 percent of the voters who made up their minds in the past few days. But it wasn’t enough.
Instead, the night provided a huge boost for Walker — as well as Republicans in Washington and state capitals who have embraced the same energetic, austere brand of fiscal conservatism as a solution for recession and debt. In a state known for a strong progressive tradition, Walker defended his policies against the full force of the labor movement and the modern left.
San Jose voters Tuesday handed Mayor Chuck Reed a crucial victory with his nationally watched pension reform measure passing by a decisive margin.It was a big night for pension reform, with a San Diego measure also winning by a wide margin. City employee unions who argued the measures are illegal were expected to challenge both in court.
But voter approval of San Jose's Measure B puts Reed and the city in the vanguard of efforts to shrink taxpayer bills for generous government pension plans. Passage also strengthen's Reed's hand as he and his City Council allies work to enact the measure's reforms with a vote next week to reduce pensions for new hires.
SANTA ROSA — A two-house legislative committee is working with Gov. Brown’s Department of Finance on a ‘hybrid’ retirement plan for new state and local government hires, a committee member told a forum here last week.
Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, twice referred to a “cash balance” plan while talking about a cost-cutting hybrid, proposed by Brown, that combines a lower pension with a 401(k)-style individual investment plan.
Nearly half of California workers will retire in or near poverty, shows a new study released by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education, "California Workers’ Retirement Prospects."
While retirement security is and will be a problem in the whole of the nation, the situation is worse in California, because California workers have less access to employer retirement plans than workers in the United States as a whole, according to the study authors.
Faced with a growing pension burden, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council moved this summer to freeze the amount of healthcare benefits given to thousands of police and firefighters once they retire. Those benefits would not increase in coming years, Villaraigosa said, unless employees contribute more toward retirement from their paychecks. [Read More...]