CSR News

Governor releases his proposed state budget

Posted Jan 09, 2015

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on Jan. 9 proposed a balanced budget that injects billions of dollars more into schools and health care coverage, holds college tuition flat and delivers on Propositions 1 and 2 by investing in long overdue water projects and saving money, while continuing to chip away at the state’s other long-term liabilities – debt, infrastructure, retiree health care and climate change.

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CalPERS issues statement on proposed state budget

Posted Jan 09, 2015

 Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) issued the following statement today in response to the proposed state budget and efforts to reduce health care costs today and in the future:

"Managing and paying for the cost of health care for public employees requires discipline, collaboration and innovation. We applaud the Governor’s wisdom to do what CalPERS and many public employers have done in recent years, tackling the cost of health care and retiree health care," Stausboll said.

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Brown's budget aims at retiree costs

Posted Dec 18, 2014

It’s official: Gov. Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal will include a plan to reduce the nearly $72 billion in unfunded promises the state has made to pay retiree health benefits.

Now how to pay it? Answer: Money in the rainy day fund that voters approved just last month, Proposition 2.

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Congress agrees to allow cuts to some retiree benefits

Posted Dec 11, 2014

Retirees covered by financially troubled multiemployer pensions could soon see their benefits cut under a congressional spending deal to keep the government running, the Associated Press (AP) reported Dec. 10.

The plan does not affect public pensions like those under CalPERS, but California State Retirees is closely monitoring this and all other pension issues and trends.

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Congressional leaders hammer out deal to allow pension plans to cut retiree benefits

Posted Dec 10, 2014

The following article appeared on the Washington Post website regarding a plan that would allow pension plans to cut retiree benefits. The California State Retirees is closely monitoring this legislation, and assessing the impact. We will keep our members apprised as new information becomes available. The article is presented below for your information. California State Retirees

The Washington Post -- A measure that would for the first time allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut is set to be attached to a massive spending bill, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans.
 
The rule would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets.

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New research shows defined benefit plans can provide pensions at half the cost of individual accounts

Posted Dec 04, 2014

A new report finds that defined benefit (DB) pension plans are a far more cost-efficient means of providing retirement income as compared to individual defined contribution (DC) accounts. The study calculates that the economic efficiencies embedded in pensions enable these retirement plans to deliver the same retirement income at a 48% lower cost than 401(k)-type DC accounts.

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Appeal threatens federal court ruling on Stockton bankruptcy

Posted Nov 14, 2014

Taking aim again at government pensions, an angry creditor in Stockton’s bankruptcy case is appealing a pivotal court ruling that preserved the city’s retirement plans.

Franklin Templeton Investments filed a notice of appeal this week, challenging the Oct. 30 decision that approved Stockton’s reorganization plan. The plan keeps the pensions fully funded but pays Franklin, which loaned the city $36 million during better economic times, just 12 cents on the dollar.

 

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Former CSR Board Member Max Turchen passes away

Posted Nov 05, 2014

Max Turchen, a longtime CSR board member and political activist, passed away Oct. 31 at the age of 94. “Max was a tireless champion for the rights of retirees and workers, and he will be sorely missed,” said CSR President Tim Behrens. “He was dedicated, hard working and most importantly – he was a good man.”

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CalPERS gets $249 million settlement from Bank of America

Posted Nov 04, 2014

CalPERS said Nov. 3 it has received a $249.3 million payment from Bank of America, the result of a settlement over toxic mortgage securities purchased by the pension fund during the housing bubble. With the Bank of America settlement, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System said it has now recovered more than $500 million from its investments in bad mortgage securities.

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Judge allows Stockton to proceed with bankruptcy plan

Posted Oct 30, 2014

A bankruptcy judge today approved the city of Stockton’s plan for repaying creditors, a plan to keeps pensions intact despite the objections of a disgruntled investment firm. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein approved the city’s plan during a two hour hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Sacramento, rejecting the complaints from San Mateo-based Franklin Templeton Investment over how it is being treated. Franklin, which is getting repaid about 12 cents on the dollar over some bond debts, had argued its treatment was unfair in light of the city’s refusal to reduce pension contributions to CalPERS.

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California State Retirees President Tim Behrens responds to bankruptcy ruling

Posted Oct 30, 2014

“Today’s ruling in federal bankruptcy court is a victory for public employees and working people in general because it strengthens the sanctity of pensions that people have earned over long careers in public service.

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Judge rules in favor of Stockton bankruptcy plan

Posted Oct 30, 2014

Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) issued this statement in response to a federal bankruptcy judge’s ruling that confirms the City of Stockton’s plan of adjustment to exit bankruptcy:

“We are pleased that the City of Stockton will emerge from bankruptcy and can now chart a path forward under a plan of adjustment that protects the pension promises made to its public employees ... "

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Governor makes key personnel appointments

Posted Oct 22, 2014

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday appointed Richard Gillihan to head the California Department of Human Resources, where he has served in an acting role since February. In his new position, Gillihan will also serve on the CalPERS Board of Administration.

Gillihan, 46, took over after Julie Chapman suddenly stepped down amid criticism that the department lacked leadership. His appointment broke a chain of CalHR chiefs who were labor insiders or bureaucrats who had come up through the department in favor of a technology expert and fiscal manager from the Department of Finance.

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Social Security announces 1.7 percent COLA for 2015

Posted Oct 22, 2014

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015, the Social Security Administration announced today.

The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2015. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Kaiser, Anthem Blue Cross and Cigna get good report cards

Posted Oct 16, 2014

Kaiser Permanente's HMOs are the best in the state for providing recommended care, while Anthem Blue Cross and Cigna are the best at providing recommended care among PPOs, according to new report cards released by the California Office of the Patient Advocate, the Los Angeles Times reports (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 10/16).

The report cards -- which usually go out in January -- were released early to coincide with the state health insurance exchange's second open enrollment period, which begins on Nov. 15 (Shinkman, Payers & Providers, 10/16).

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CalPERS board member stripped of leadership roles because of FPPC violations

Posted Oct 15, 2014

CalPERS board member Priya Mathur was removed from board leadership positions today because of her latest campaign-finance disclosure infractions.

Mathur was removed as board vice president and chair of the Pension and Health Benefits Committee. The decision was announced by board President Rob Feckner. No replacement as board vice president was immediately named. George Diehr was named acting chair of the pension committee.

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Stockton bankruptcy case could hurt public workers

Posted Oct 10, 2014

The investment house Franklin Templeton's effort to knock down the city of Stockton's proposal to emerge from bankruptcy portrays the case as one in which Franklin is defending itself against three big, faceless adversaries.

These are CalPERS, California's enormous public pension agency, and "the City and its organized labor allies." Franklin objects that they're angling to preserve their preferential position in the bankruptcy reorganization, while cramming down big losses on Franklin, which holds more than $36 million in city debt, of which some $32 million is unsecured. The city proposes to pay Franklin about 1 cent on the dollar for that unsecured portion.

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Are state workers resuming their rushing to retirement?

Posted Oct 10, 2014

California’s eight-month streak of declining state-pension applications ended with a 24 percent jump in July, according to CalPERS data. August followed with a hefty 64 percent surge, the largest single-month percentage increase since July 2010. Retirement filings last month rose 23 percent compared with a year ago.

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CalPERS chief executive comments on Stockton bankruptcy case

Posted Oct 09, 2014

The ruling last week by a federal bankruptcy judge in Stockton’s bankruptcy case has caused many to speculate about the future of pensions. Public employees, retirees, employers, lawyers, taxpayers and journalists have legitimate questions and concerns (“Bankruptcy case should be a loud warning to cities,” Editorials, Oct. 3).

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Bankruptcy ruling may be moot

Posted Oct 09, 2014

A federal bankruptcy judge's decision that Stockton could toss out its contract with CalPERS, the state's giant pension fund, may lead to deep cuts in workers' and retirees' pensions, even though the city didn't ask for any cuts at all. It also could lead other cities to use the bankruptcy process to rewrite employee pensions over their workers' objections.

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