Articles for category State Economy
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.
For the first time, California's Highway Patrol officers are going to be furloughed.
The union reached an agreement at with Gov. Jerry Brown that furloughs Patrol officers 8 hours per month for one year starting July 1. Officers can bank the hours to take later, but their paychecks will reflect the 5 percent pay reduction regardless.
Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley confirmed the agreement. Jon Hamm, CEO of the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, said that the language of the agreement encourages officers to take their banked furlough time before taking paid vacation.
The Brown administration had said that it wanted to avoid a policy that allowed banking furlough hours because that leads to employees taking less paid leave, creating a deferred cost for the state when the leave credits with monetary value are cashed out at the end of an employees' career.
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.
Like his predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown moved to trim state worker salaries Monday as a way to help cut a ballooning budget deficit.
Although many of the details still need to be hammered out with the unions, Brown proposed that workers lose a day's pay each month in a move that evoked memories of furlough days under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Under Brown's plan, state workers would switch to a four-day workweek, working 9.5 hours a day, or 38 hours a week, instead of the current five-day, 40-hour workweek. The change would cut workers' pay by 5 percent, saving the state $401 million in general fund costs.
Administration officials said they also expect to save money by closing buildings one day a week.
For weeks, the Brown administration has been talking to labor leaders about wringing savings from payroll. Brown did not say Monday whether union leaders had specifically suggested the shorter workweek but did say those discussions were considered in shaping the policy.
The line at CalPERS' customer service window is getting longer.
After converting to a half-billion-dollar computer system to process benefits for hundreds of thousands of California public agency retirees last September, backlogs for some services are worse than before the project launched.
The new hardware and software installed by New York-based tech firm Accenture aimed to consolidate 49 old data systems into one when it launched last September, two years late at nearly twice its original $279 million budget. The California Public Employees' Retirement System committed another $6.8 million in December, bringing the total cost to $514 million. The money has come from CalPERS assets, currently valued at $234 billion.
Meanwhile, fund members have complained that a system intended to speed up service and boost efficiency has done the opposite.
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.
Health benefits for government retirees may not be eliminated if state and local governments had clearly promised workers those benefits, the California Supreme Court ruled in an Orange County case Monday. [Read More...]
Approximately half of California workers will retire in or near poverty, according to a study published Monday by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. [Read More...]
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...]