The Latest Hard Right Governor to Take On Government Employee Union Benefits is…Jerry Brown?
October 27, 2011 - 6:54 am
Hey, who got some Scott Walker in my Jerry Brown?!?
Gov. Jerry Brown will propose sweeping rollbacks to public employee pension benefits in California, including raising the retirement age to 67 for new employees who are not public safety workers and requiring state and local employees to pay more toward their retirement and health care, according to a draft of the plan obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
The governor will also propose Thursday a mandatory “hybrid” system in which future retirees would get their retirement from a guaranteed benefit and a 401(k)-style plan subject to market whims. For employees with at least 30 years of service, retirement benefits would aim to replace about 75 percent of an employee’s salary through retirement funds and Social Security, according to the draft.
The plan, as drafted, also would end so-called pension “spiking” that lets employees boost their payouts by including overtime and other benefits, and end the practice of buying additional service credits.
“It’s time to fix our pension systems so that they are fair and sustainable over a long time horizon,” Brown said in a prepared statement to the AP. “My plan raises the retirement age and bans abusive practices like “spiking” and “air time” while mandating that public employees pay an equal share of pension costs.”
The administration estimates its proposal would save about $900 million annually.
Brown’s plan would require approval from the Legislature, where union-allied Democrats are likely to balk at some of the significant rollbacks, and where Brown failed to win consensus on pensions with Republicans last spring.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a bit of Walker sneak into Jerry Brown. Back in June, Gov. Brown vetoed card check legislation that would have given unions in California a major pathway toward increasing their membership. If I didn’t know better, I might start thinking that Jerry Brown is one of those liberals who has gotten mugged by reality.