Chuck Reed Reworks, Re-Releases California Pension Ballot Measures Aiming to Curb Benefits


After the first iteration failed to generate much funding or support, former San Diego Mayor Chuck Reed reworked his benefit-cutting ballot measure and released the updated measures this week.

The measures aim to rein in the cost of pensions in California by requiring voter approval of any benefit increases, and would put a cap on government contributions to the pensions of new employees.

More on the measures, from the Mercury News:

The first, called the Voter Empowerment Initiative, would require voter approval for any of the following: pension benefits for new government employees, increases in benefits for existing employees or taxpayer subsidies of benefits of more than 50 percent.

The coalition also added a second initiative, called the Government Pension Cap Act. This measure would limit government contributions to new employees’ retirement benefits to 11 percent of base compensation. The percentage would rise to 13 percent for safety employees. Like its sister initiative, the Government Pension Cap Act would also prohibit the government from paying more than half the total cost of retirement benefits, unless voters say otherwise.

Despite the differences between the two approaches, the core philosophy is the same, Reed said Monday during a conference call with reporters.

“The cost is what’s driving our concern for the future of California,” Reed said. “The public understands that the skyrocketing cost of retirement benefits is a huge financial burden.”

The twin initiatives met with fierce opposition Monday from Californians for Retirement Security, an alliance of several government labor unions. Dave Low, the group’s chairman, accused the reformers of “rewarding Wall Street” by trying to eliminate retirement security for millions of people.

Reed wants one of the measures on the 2016 state-wide ballot – which means he needs to gather 580,000 in the next six months.


Photo by  San Jose Rotary via Flickr CC License

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