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Proposed ballot initiative to cut public pensions

The group founded by the advocates of the tax-cutting Proposition 13 are crafting a ballot initiative that urges across-the-board cuts in public pensions and sets ups a new, CalPERS-style state retirement system for private employees.

The proposed initiative, which would apply to new and reinstated employees, would cap pay at $100,000 for the purposes of figuring retirement. It would bar any other compensation – such as bonuses, accrued overtime, accrued sick leave and vacation pay – from being included when calculating pensions.

Details of the proposal can be seen here.

The title and summary, the first steps to getting the measure qualified for the ballot, were announced by the state attorney general’s office Tuesday. The proponents include Ted Costa of Peoples Advocate, the group created by the late Paul Gann. Gann was the co-author of Proposition 13 of 1978, the sweeping initiative that cut local property taxes by 57 percent and forced profound changes in California governance.

The proposal also would create a new system for private workers that would mirror CalPERS. The new system, called the  California Separate Private Employees System, or CalSPERS, would be administered by CalPERS with funds that would be kept separately from the public pension fund accounts.

The proposed initiative also would order the state attorney general to request federal officials to investigate CalPERS’ governing board members who have been on the board for more than nine years. CalPERS has been hit in recent years by allegations conflict of interest and in its dealings with so-called placement agents, who appear before the board advocating for investments for their clients.


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