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Brown gives details of pension reform plan

March 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Now that budget negotiations have collapsed, Republicans were on the attack Thursday, releasing an online political advertisement while Governor Jerry Brown released details of his pension reform.

It's a war of words at the Capitol. Brown unveiled his pension-reform plan to counter Republican attacks that said he wasn't willing to upset public-employee unions for a budget deal

"During these discussions, I proposed detailed and specific plans for pension reform, for putting a cap on state spending and on regulatory reform," said Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown just released the details of his 12-point pension reform plan, some of which have already been introduced by Republican lawmakers.

  • One proposal would prohibit state workers from buying down their retirement age for up to five years, a practice known as "airtime"
  • Another would prohibit pension spiking, using a worker's average three-year salary to determine benefits, instead of just the final year
  • A bill for a benefit cap is still under development

One that seems to pertain to former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo would ban pension payments to anyone convicted of a felony related to employment.

Pension reformers call it a good first step, but not enough.

"The governor's plan to solve the pension crisis by eliminating these flagrant abuses is just like his plan to solve the budget crisis, by taking away bureaucrats' cell phones. It's a nice start, but it doesn't solve a $200-billion problem," said Dan Pellissier, California Pension Reform.

Brown's package comes on the same day the California Republican Party released an attack ad on YouTube about his inability to compromise.

Republicans earlier in the day wanted to set the record straight on why they say budget negotiations collapsed: They wanted more and Brown wouldn't go as far on reforms as they wanted.

"It became pretty obvious to me that there really wasn't a sincere desire to work out anything in a bipartisan fashion," said state Sen. Bob Dutton(R-Rancho Cucamonga), the senate minority leader.

"The Stanford Report said we're about $500 billion upside down, that we need to be putting in there to take care of our retirees," said state Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar). "The benefits are unsustainable."

Some public employee unions say while they are OK with some of the proposals, they already gave back $700 million in retirement concessions last year. They question, When will enough be enough?


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