Gov. Jerry Brown this week predicted that his 2012 pension law will survive union challenges in court and blow a hole in the so-called “California rule” that has restricted changes to public employee retirement plans for half a century.Note that this comes from the left-leaning major Sacramento newspaper, so you lefties can't scream that the right is just trying to scare you.
“When the next recession comes around, the governor will have the option of considering pension cutbacks for the first time in a long time,” Brown said at a news conference this week where he unveiled his 2018-19 budget plan.
Brown has been working to strike out the California rule, a precedent dating back to the 1950s that holds public agencies cannot reduce pension promises without offering workers new incentives to offset the loss of retirement income.
The worst-case scenario for public employees would be a reduction in the rate they accrue their pensions, say advocates who want to limit the state’s pension liabilities. Potential changes would not affect pensions that current retirees already receive, unless a government agency goes bankrupt and stops paying its bills.Is that an incentive to retire early?
Brown’s pension law required public employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013, to contribute more money toward their retirements and capped their benefits by eliminating generous benefits the state gave to public workers during the dot-com boom. Brown’s administration says the law put the state’s two largest public pension systems, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, on a path to long-term stability.That's CalSTRS, my retirement system. *sigh*
Still, both pension funds are considered seriously underfunded because they owe tens of billions of dollars more in benefits than they have on hand. Local governments and school districts, meanwhile, have been drawing attention to their rising expenses on pensions, complaining that the costs are “crowding out” their ability to fund public services.