California Supreme Court Upholds San Francisco Pension Cut Reversal; COLAs Restored for Many


The California Supreme Court denied the state’s appeal Wednesday to a recent lower court decision that reversed a portion of pension cuts passed in 2011.

The court overturned the 2011 law, Proposition C, which rolled back COLAs for many retirees.

More from SF Gate:

A lower-court ruling had restored the increases for employees who retired after November 1996 and for future retirees, and the court on Wednesday denied the city’s appeal.

The lawyer said the ruling as it stands would help about 23,000 employees who have retired since 1996.

The [now reversed] reductions were part of Proposition C, a November 2011 ballot measure sponsored by Mayor Ed Lee and backed by labor unions. The main part of the measure, unaffected by the court case, required city employees to contribute 7.5 percent of their salaries to the pension fund, a percentage that will rise when the fund is dwindling and drop when it is thriving.

The provision challenged by retirees was a partial rollback of cost-of-living increases that city voters had first approved in November 1996 and enhanced in 2002 and 2006. Adding to the annual inflation increases pensioners were already allowed to receive, the changes gave them an additional increase of up to 3.5 percent in years when the retirement fund’s earnings were higher than anticipated.

The case was brought by retiree group Protect Our Benefits.

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