Poll: Will The Approved Pension Reform Bill Really Help Us?

Before adjourning, state lawmakers passed a bill late Friday that could cut pension costs by billions of dollars. Critics say the bill has loopholes that may make things even worse.


On Friday, California state legislators passed a reform measure that is expected to put new limits on pensions for future state and local government employees, saving billions of dollars in retirement spending.

The bill, AB340, passed 49-8 in the Assembly and 38-1 in the state Senate.

Brought forward by Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday, the new law - if signed by Brown - could cut $40 billion to $60 billion in pension expenses for government employers over the next 30 years, according to the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the United States.

According to the Huffington Post, the legislation will increase the retirement age for new employees, cap the annual payout at $132,120, eliminate numerous abuses of the system and require workers who are not contributing half of their retirement costs to pay more.

State and local governments have been struggling to meet the demands of long-held pension promises to retirees while their abilities to pay shrink.

Public employee unions are unhappy about the agreement, and complained that Democrats who normally support their causes in Sacramento had abandoned them.

Others felt the legislation did not go far enough.

"I hope people acknowledge there is much, much more work to be done," said Joe Nation, a former Democratic member of the state Assembly who now teaches public policy at Stanford University in an interview with Reuters. "It's better than moving backwards but this barely moves the ball forward."

Nation in recent years has overseen studies warning California and its local governments face unfunded pension liabilities that stretch into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Pension costs contributed to the bankruptcy filings of Stockton and San Bernardino this year.

"Because we are so under water right now there just really has to be more," Nation told Reuters.

In our Silicon Valley Patch towns, annual pensions are noted on a database compiled by the Bay Area News Group. According to that database, here are some of the most highly compensated pension recipients in our towns:


City Name 2011 Gross Pension Years of Service Campbell Johanna Vandermolen $267,005.47 40 Patricia Gregory $176,478.23 41 Owen Hege $152,222.00 43 Cupertino Paul Cheng $197,612.39 38 Keet Hamilton $180,863.00 40 William Bragg $178,959.98 38 Los Altos Timothy Justus $206,113.61 38 Margaret Gratiot $179,335.40 37 Patricia Weisman $152,324.36 36 Los Gatos Suzanne Boxer-Gassman $136,619.48 29 Charlotte Basinger $124,372.76 39 Robert Skuse $121,951.28 41 Mountain View Cathy Remson-Lazarus $183,526.92 37 Richard Fisher $181,106.16 38 Michael Young $175,286.20 32

What do you think? Will this reform measure being sent to Governor Brown help the economies of our state and our cities? Should there be a cap on the amount a person can earn from a pension?

Let us know in your comments. Then vote in our poll. 

L.A. Chung September 02, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I know some critics said it didn't go far enough, but I wonder, in this climate, with so many entrenched interests, whether incremental measures may provide at least some help to the bottom line?
William Riley September 02, 2012 at 09:10 PM
The “California Teachers Association” they could care less about the children. Don’t be ignorant; don’t be fooled by their political ads. Here are just a few things you should read before you believe them when they say “it’s about the children” http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/30/4770521/teacher-evaluations.html http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444443504577601664135014368.html http://www.publicsectorinc.com/forum/2012/08/one-win-one-loss-as-californias-legislative-session-closes.html http://unionwatch.org/how-government-unions-intimidate-corporations/ http://spectator.org/archives/2012/08/29/a-tale-of-two-jerrys http://airmodal.com/2012/09/01/chutzpah-on-steroids/ http://www.city-journal.org/2012/cjc0716ls.html http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-sand-prop32-blowback-20120824,0,2890404.story http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/18/local/la-me-cta-20120819 http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_california-teachers-association.html http://www.joannejacobs.com/2012/08/teachers-unions-go-on-the-defensive/ http://www.wcvarones.com/2012/08/guest-post-california-teachers-union.html
Donna Taylor September 04, 2012 at 11:54 PM
What a sham! The cap on pensionable pay exempts 95% of government employees. Raising the retirement age by two years for new employees saves very little money. The rest of the workforce is required to work to 67, why are the so many public employees so special? There's tens of thousands that have been exempted from the retire at 67. They claim that firemen and cops can't do the strenuous work after 50, or 55. (Even though many now 'retire' in their early 50's and hire on with another agency - i.e. double-dippers).. Well there's a whole lot of us in the private sector that don't get the same concern and sympathy. This is a double standard, where the few have put themselves in an elite status through their relationship with organized labor and its influence on our politicians via to a corrupt political process.
Gary E. Jones September 05, 2012 at 12:57 AM
You go girl
Neal Locke October 01, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Who is Patricia Gregory? Why is Campbell on the hook for $176k/yr?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »