California lawmakers pounce on the messenger
March 3, 2011
California lawmakers on Wednesday reacted skeptically to a new proposal to lower public employee pensions throughout state and local government. [SacramentoBee]
Stuart Drown, the executive director of the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, known as the Little Hoover Commission, testified before a joint session of California Assembly and Senate committees that oversee public employee compensation that the current system is unsustainable and has become a program that seeks wealth accumulation for public employees.
In a recent report, the Commission warns that failure to make changes now will have dire consequences including severely reduced services to the public.
The report says that governments can’t wait for decades for a lower pension benefits for newly hired workers to take hold, they need to cut what it pays current employees. And that legal obstacles that have been limiting changes to existing employee pension plans need to be challenged.
Drowns’s testimony resulted in a hailstorm of criticism from elected officials and union leaders.
“If you reduce pensions you’re going to reduce the supply of people available to do this job,” said Craig Brown, who represents state correctional officers, among other public employees. “Harming pensions will simply push up other parts of the compensation package.”