Yes, you read that right. Last year an assistant fire chief in Los Angeles received a government pension payout of $983,319. That's not all. A city librarian in San Diego cashes $234,000 in government pension checks every year! A police captain banked $753,861 last year - and a city politician started cashing his pension checks at the young age of 32! For more news on outrageous pension payouts and compensation packages on state and local government employees go to TransparentCalifornia.org
Who pays for all these outrageous government pension payouts for state and local government employees? YOU DO! According to a recent Stanford University study, California taxpayers are on the hook for at least $1.2 trillion in unfunded debt for state and local government retirement benefits. Each year state and local pension payments skyrocket higher and higher - in some jurisdictions increasing over 800 percent since 2000!
Every taxpayer dollar paid out for government pensions is a dollar less for important services - ranging from schools, libraries, public health, and road repairs. Politicians will continually push for higher taxes and fees (especially water rates!) to raise money to finance the debt for these government pensions. Taxpayers face a future of higher costs and lower services if we fail to act to reform these government pensions.
Unfortunately, politicians from both political parties have failed to act to solve the pension crisis in California state and local governments. These politicians fear the special interest power of government labor unions. Only citizens working together can do what is right to impose common-sense reform in our state and make government retirement benefits sustainable once again.
Reform California is committed to place a pension reform ballot initiative on the November 2018 California ballot. Read the full text of the Initiative here.
The initiative provides a “check” on state and local politicians by explicitly affirming the ability of voters to reform government employee compensation and retirement benefits. In particular, the initiative would:
- Require voter approval of any defined benefit pensions for new government employees;
- Require voter approval of any increase in pensions for existing government employees;
- Prohibit any taxpayer subsidy of government retirement benefits in excess of 50% of the cost – unless voters expressly approve a higher contribution, and
- Prohibit politicians and government agencies from delaying, impeding, or challenging any voter-approved state and local ballot measures regarding compensation and retirement benefits.
“The cost of public employee pension benefits continues to skyrocket across California, crowding out funding for important services such as police, fire, schools, and road repairs,” Reed said. “California’s politicians have chosen tax hikes and draconian service cuts to divert taxpayer money for unsustainable and indefensible government pension payouts, which is exactly why we must empower voters with this initiative to get reform done,” DeMaio said.
Joining Reed and DeMaio as proponents of the initiative are: former San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris (D), Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait (R), former Vallejo Vice Mayor Stephanie Gomes, and Pacific Grove Mayor Bill Kampe (D). The Ventura County Taxpayers Association also participated in the effort.
Despite the state’s improving economy, public employee pension debt in California continues to explode - growing from $6.3 billion in 2003 to $198 billion in 2013. In addition, the state and local governments have approximately $150 billion in unfunded liabilities for retiree health care benefits.