Governor targets fat public pensions

October 27, 2011

Jerry Brown

A higher retirement age and a less benevolent pension system await new state workers in the future if a plan to be unveiled Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown succeeds.

Brown also will be targeting the purchase by current state employees of additional retirement service credits, or “airtime,” which helps inflate individual retirement payment amounts.

The governor will propose increasing the age of retirement benefit beneficiaries from 55 to 67 for non-public safety employees. He tried unsuccessfully to work public pension reform into budget negotiations earlier this year.

Brown also wants to put a ballot measure before voters in Nov. 2012 to reshape the governing board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.



  1. slobody says:

    “Governor targets fat public pensions.” Screw you, Cal Coast News. Per usual your mendacious “reporting” hits the low mark. The average CalPers pension is $23,000. Do you really think that is a “fat” pension? Get a life, get a heart, get a brain, and cut out your envy of people who had the gumption to get themselves a real job instead of working for a newsblog slaveocracy. Furthermore, if the average pension is $23,000, that means half are less than that. That means California’s “fat” pensions provide a poverty level income to its typical retirees, many of whom have been excluded by their state employment from Social Security coverage. If there’s any “fat” in this scenario, it’s in your headline writer’s head.

    As for the “airtime” you mention, if Brown succeeds in that it will make ZERO difference in state funding of pensions. He clearly is on a tea party symbol-chasing bandwagon here. For those who don’t know what “airtime” is, it’s an arrangement by which workers can boost their pensions by BUYING UP TO 5 YEARS’ ADDITIONAL PENSION CREDITS 100% OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS. It’s like buying an annuity through your non-profit pension fund instead of from a ripoff insurance company. It’s good public policy, especially since the purchaser puts up 100% of the cost, and the state puts up nothing. It’s a 100% employee-funded pension. Isn’t that what the right wingers say they want?

    There are pension abuses. Nobody should get a public pension of $100,000. That’s what people are rightfully pissed off about. But Brown’s plan doesn’t address that. The transfer of public wealth upward to the 1% will continue under his plan, and it’s (per usual) the little guy who gets screwed. Brown is nothing more than California’s version of Scott Walker, a teacher and cop-hating demagogue. Hopefully, none of this will get through the legislature, since none of it will solve the abuses people are upset about, and if it were to go into effect would guarantee future mediocrity for our state.

    (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
    • r0y says:

      The Governor is not targeting “average” public pensions. Perhaps you’re so wired up and looking for a problem, you begin to see them where they do not exist.

      Get off your high horse, or better yet, get off the site if you are so bent out of shape from your own mis-reading.

      (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
      • r0y says:

        FYI – see my reply to slobody’s second “$23,000” drivel. Unions really do a number on some of their members.

        (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
    • willie says:

      “That means California’s “fat” pensions provide a poverty level income to its typical retirees, many of whom have been excluded by their state employment from Social Security coverage.”

      I was a State Employee in 1981 when government employees were given an option to participate in Social Security contributions or “OP out”. The State decided to contribute.
      However many City Employees including Police and Fire decided to “OP out”
      I know this for a FACT!

      “For those who don’t know what “airtime” is, it’s an arrangement by which workers can boost their pensions by BUYING UP TO 5 YEARS’ ADDITIONAL PENSION CREDITS 100% OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS.”

      After I retired from State government, CALPERS offered State Employees this so-called “airtime” to buy in additional years up to 5 years maximum with their 401K or 457K, NOT from out of their own post tax money.
      I know this for a FACT because I am now living on a small State pension and a small Social Security Pension.

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • r0y says:

        CalPERS claims the average in FY2010 was $68.838, by the way. Pretty far from slobody’s $23,000 union propaganda. Basically, the union thug who is telling the members it’s only $23K/year includes ALL pensioners (even those not vested) so the division is much more in the favor of a lower number; however, this just blatantly dishonest in the worst possible way. Public employee unions. Go figure.

        (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down
        • r0y says:

          Period, comma… it’s Sixty-Eight Thousand… sorry (I correspond both in the US and overseas where the period and comma are swapped… drives me nuts).

          Just my $0,02 worth. (see?)

          (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
  2. Typoqueen says:

    @Justin, with good reason I brought partisan politics into this, sure enough that’s what it’s becoming. I’m watching Greta right now on Fixed News. She is up in arms because the dems and the unions aren’t fighting Brown over this like they did with Gov. Scott Walker, she just can’t seem to figure out why the unions aren’t furious and demonstrating against Brown, she is crying partisan politics. What she fails to mention is that Walker was and did bust up the unions. Why would the unions and the dems back a govt. that is destroying unions? Brown isn’t talking about doing away with unions. How can she be so stupid or I perhaps her report was based the memo that Murdoch sent out. Greta is indignant about this whole thing. I knew that Faux would find a way to spin this.

    (-4) 8 Total Votes - 2 up - 6 down
    • Justin says:

      But why listen to any of those talking heads and allow them any credibility of what they say at all. It’s all just alot of partisan noise that unfortunatly gives people a mostly false impression. Spin, spin, spin. News isn’t news anymore. It’s people with money pushing an agenda. I was reading an opinion piece in the newspaper the other day. The author who is one of those talking heads that makes up one of those Sunday morning shows, was talking about how one party could beat the other party. Not through anything of substance but more through gamesmanship. What??? Politics has gotten way rediculous and has gotten to the point of dangerous for Joe public. When are people going to realize that they are being constantly manipulated and lied to? I know it sounds crazy to some, but stop and listen to both sides and think about it critically. Use your own judgement and common sense.

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        In a perfect world I agree with you 100%. But in reality people are like sheep, it’s just the nature of the beast. I mean this Fixed News thing with Greta, you must know how much power Murdoch and Koch have over the majority of Republicans, they own the party and they lead the party. The way they run the republicans is a new form of hidden fascism, people need to be lead, they don’t want to think they are easily lead but they are. A majority of republicans think that Greta is non partisan and unbiased. Many people are’t capable of critical independent thinking, I don’t know why but that’s just a reality of human nature. Those talking heads have the power to change political powers by their strong influence over their sheeple. So, I agree that people shouldn’t be partisan and they should be able to make independent decisions but look around you, it’s just not possible.

        I feel that I’m open minded I’ve always been a leader, I read many different sources to get info, I watch or listen the Fixed News as much if not more than the other networks and I investigate issues on my own and you also appear to be an independent thinker. But who knows, everyone believes that they’re independently minded. Personally I believe that this sheep thing is more predominant with the right but yes a lot of libs are sheeple too. But that is why there is such a diverse group on the left. There are lawyers, doctors bums, kooks moms, artists etc. there are many personalities on the left because they do their own thing. Just my opinion and I’m sure as always that I’ll get thumbs down for that (if other people are still reading this thread).

        (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
  3. willie says:

    Whether I agree or disagree on some of the bills he sign is aside the point.
    In these times, I feel better he instead of anyone else or someone else is in office.
    He is not knaive, not stupid, not guilable, and have very little or no weakness as a governor.
    Tell me who would be a better person in this screwed up bi-partisan government.

    (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
  4. Typoqueen says:

    Some of you will never give a dem credit for anything but Jerry has always been practical IMO. That being said I’m surprised that some of actually aren’t afraid to give credit where credit is due. With the polarization in today’s politics it takes a big person to cross the isle once in awhile. These days moderation is considered treasonous. I don’t always agree with him but he was a great gov. before and history will show that he’s a great gov, now.

    Go Jerry,,some people ie r0y you’ll never please but keep up the good work anyway.

    (-2) 14 Total Votes - 6 up - 8 down
    • Cindy says:

      After the lame brained crap he pulled offering our tax $$ to illegals (criminals) to attend our colleges, he owes it to us do to something right and FAIR. He finally did something I agree with, there……..I admit it.

      (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        He did something else awhile back that you agreed with but I can’t remember off the top of my head what it was.

        Cindy, as you know many of us agree with the importance of educating our residents and many don’t but those that believe like I do it’s not out of maliciousness it’s because we feel it’s the smart thing to do. Not even the most fair or honest politician can please everyone. This thing with the education, he’s not doing this to please lobbyist despite the past remarks about teachers unions. He is don’t it because he feels it’s the right and practical thing to do, you might not agree with it but his intentions are to better our population, I guarantee he’s not doing it to fill his pockets or for votes as most politicians would do (both dem and repub.). I have never seen Brown pander to anyone, you might not agree with a lot of his actions but IMO he’s honest and not a sell out. One of the things that I like the most about him is that he’s not afraid to mix it up, he’s not afraid of a complete overhaul, he’s a worker. Agree with him or not at least he’s doing something at least he’s trying.

        As you can tell I really admire Brown, I hope he doesn’t blow it, I hope I don’t read that he’s truly sold out or that he’s done something truly immoral. Jerry is one of my last hopes for the Dem party.

        (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
    • r0y says:

      I’m just saying, I’ll reserve my praise for ACTIONS, not words. That’s all. Am I asking too much? Are announcements and plans all that are needed?

      (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        If you had followed Brown’s history then you’d know that Jerry’s all about action, he walks the walk.

        (-6) 14 Total Votes - 4 up - 10 down
    • Justin says:

      And here we go…keeping the partisan squabble alive. It’s them. No, it’s them. They don’t get it. No, they don’t get it. blah, blah,blah

      No, it doesn’t take a big person to cross the isle. It just takes someone who thinks of others besides themselves and to do the right thing, which is what most politicians are lacking these days and they need to be replaced. Not all, but most. Especially the career types.

      I am fairly conservative. However, I voted for Jerry. I have voted for other Dems in the past because they appeared to have the majority of peoples best interest at heart. No special interest groups or big money. Of course you never know for sure until they get into office.

      I agree with rOy that actions speak louder than words. We’ll see won’t we.

      I recently changed my party affiliation because I was so tired of the back and forth between the two major parties and I was tired of being insulted for no good reason other than I was “one of them”.

      It’s not them,them,them. It’s us,us,us. It’s time to stop the horse crap and fix things. Don’t vote for the candidate with the most money and prettiest add campaigns. Lets use our heads this time….together, the majority, with common sense for once.

      Go Jerry!

      (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  5. godislanguage says:

    Holy cow!!! Does Gov. Brown see the light?

    Thankfully, I’m not the only one that thinks its completely unreasonable for government workers to retire at what…? 93% of their salary? Especially after they greedily spike their pensions and inflate their pensions.

    A pension payout like 25% of you earnings to a 25k/yr – 40k/yr maximum is more mainsteam and reasonable.

    I would have to save multi-MILLIONS of dollars to earn the kind of retirement benefits that the average state pensioner gets.

    When people retire, they retire at a fraction of what they earned. When your retired, your house should be paid for and any kids are already out of the house and educated and along their way.

    I believe CA , Counties, and Cities will have have to declare bankrupcy before this mess is eventually straightened out.

    Keep it up Gov. Brown

    (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
    • slobody says:

      The average CalPers pensioner gets $23,000 per year.

      You would not “have to save millions to get that sort of pension”, whatever you mean by that. If you invested and got the good rate of return CalPers consistently gets, you’d need about $290,000 invested. (But you aren’t clever enough to do that, which is why you should have more respect for our public pension system.)

      People do retire at a fraction of what they earned. For most, it’s a relatively small percentage.

      Those who retire with “93% of their salary” are rarities, the poster children right wingers post on the wall to get ignorant people like yourself all exicted. That said, I agree 93% is just too much. It’s mainly cops who can pull that off. Anybody else would have to work for at least 50 years straight to get above about 80%.

      You need facts as well as opinions.

      One thing you overlook is that commonplace public salaries (other than for public safety people and executives) are lower than for comparable work elsewhere. Part of the bargain the state has made to still get good people working for them is to offer a dependable set of benefits. You cut the benefits, you’ll see the quality of public employees (teachers and the like) go downhill really fast (unless, of course, you’re willing to substantially raise salaries), and you’ll have nobody but yourself to blame for having really uneducated, stupid kids and grandkids. If I were young today, I wouldn’t even dream of going into teaching, even though I’d probably be a good teacher; public attitudes towards public employees (like your attitude) are just too hostile. I’d imagine a lot of good kids today aren’t considering public service for exactly that reason.

      YOu’ll reap what you sow.

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
      • r0y says:

        I was curious about that low figure, as other places have reported higher averages, some much higher. Then I came across this piece which takes apart the union indoctrinated “$23,000 a year” that slobody is dutifully regurgitating as often as s/he can.

        I’ll sum it up for people not wanting to do any research whatsoever (ie slobody) via a copy-paste:
        Using data from CalPERS annual report for the fiscal year ended June 30th, 2010, entitled “Shaping our Future,” (ref. page 151) the average pension for a state employee enrolled in CalPERS who retired last year after 30 years of service is $66,828 per year.

        Daaaaaaaammn…. even CalPERS disagrees with the union figures! Go figure! (pun intended)

        (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
        • korie says:

          30 years of state service seems like a long haul. These numbers might be more meaningful if you stated the percentage of state pensioners who actually put in thirty years. (and why is it that nobody cared much about this when they were basking in falsely inflated 401K accounts? It’s like a successful gambler suddenly loses it all then shouts “no fair” to the guy with a savings account.)

          (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
          • r0y says:

            30 years is the average amount of time put in to get the most out of one’s pension. Some go shorter; none go longer (why, when one can double- or triple-dip?).

            I do not recall basking in falsely inflated 401K accounts, nor NOT thinking something “stinks” in the public sector with benefits and pensions. It would be silly of me to say “nobody cared much about this” at any time, as I do not know how everyone thinks.

            (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  6. r0y says:

    For non-public safety employees? What the hell is that? Do you mean all the public employees EXCEPT safety?

    Still, how ever will those hard working, dedicated people manage to work beyond the ripe old age of 55. Think of all the double- and triple-dippers that are going to be effected!

    At least Brown is “sort of” heading in the right direction, but usually crap like this that goes against his paymaster’s wishes, are already planned out for failure. Sure there will be hemming and hawing, but in the end, I don’t see it happening unless the whole system is allowed to collapse and force all of them into austerity.

    (2) 18 Total Votes - 10 up - 8 down
  7. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    I never thought I’d be saying this but GO JERRY GO!! Plan sounds good to me.

    (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
    • r0y says:

      I hope he can get traction with it, but my guy feeling is, this is all for show and will not happen (queue Arnold and his cuts when he first got in).

      (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
      • r0y says:

        that should be “gut feeling” (I’ve got sausage fingers)

        (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
        • BeenThereDoneThat says:

          Yea but for a keystroke mistake the substitute word was funny.

          (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        Typo award of the day goes to r0y! You’ve out done me r0y.

        (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  8. racket says:

    What? Is he trying to make a democrat out of me???

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down

Comments are closed.