Gov. Brown’s pension reform plans

February 3, 2012

Gov. Jerry Brown has provided the language for his 12-point pension reform plan to the Legislature’s Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions. [SacramentoBee]

Before the governor’s plan can be placed on the Nov. 6 ballot, a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature is required. If approved, Brown’s pension reform would begin on Jan. 1, 2013.

Brown’s pension reform proposals include:

Limiting the hours and wages for retirees returning to government jobs.

The forfeiture of all or part of pensions for government workers’ who commit a felony associated with their job.

No more retroactive pension benefits.

Benefits to be calculated on a 36-month average of an employees’ wages.

Requirements that all employees pay at least half the normal costs for defined benefit plans or the defined portion of a hybrid plan.

In order to receive 100 percent of the state’s retiree health benefit, an employee needs to have put in 25 years of service. Applies to new hires only.

The creation of a hybrid pension system for new hires. “It would replace 75 percent of an employee’s income after 30 years of service and a “normal” retirement age of 57 for public safety employees or, for all other workers, 35 years of service at age 67,” the Sacramento Bee said.

Sets the minimum length of service and age for safety workers at 5 years and 52 years old to qualify for retirement, 57 years old for all other groups.

Jack L

Nothing is going to change overnight. Don’t most agree this is a step in the right direction? It’s a way to change the system without an almost total breakdown like Scott Walker of Wisconsin has caused. Ease into it and keep a steady path. Cut what needs to be cut but leave what is honestly earned by those that do the job well. This will take numerous election cycles.


Absolutely spot on. This is a great plan. But you can’t please everyone and there is a certain segment of the population that Brown could never please. There will be those that fight this, I just hope that they don’t ruin it.


It will be the unions that object..

Bob Cob

In some cases the unions not only protect its people but the citizens also. For instance public safety would there be the proper amount of public safety officers to protect the citizens and the officers themselves with out unions? I doubt it. The government would try to get by with the cheapest least amount. The unions can stand up and ask for better protection. Please don’t fall for the union busters for ur safety and mine.


I hear a lot about state workers getting rich on their reitrement. Maybe I need enlightening, but I do have a couple questions… seriously. The state puts in a certain percentage every month matched by the employee. I thoght it was about 6% +/-. That money is managed by the Public Employee Retirement System (NOT run by the state). What business is it of the state to dictate to PERS how they run their retirement system or how they calculate a payout after a person retires? Yes, the state, I believe, still contributes toward health care, but that’s a small amount after one enters medicare and it becomes a supplimental insurance. As far as the actual monthly pension check, I believe that is totally funded by PERS, present contributions and investments. You can criticize PERS all you want, but in a failing economy, where the state of California is billions in the red and the nation is faltering on bankrupsy, PERS has made double digit profits on their investments.


“Benefits to be calculated on a 36-month average of an employees’ wages.”

It should be the average of the entire employee’s work life, not based on the last few years of service.

Getting, what 93% of your salary when fully vested is still outrageous.

As a private self-employed person, I would have to save millions of dollars to recieve this level of benefits…’s still unsustainable and unreasonable.

When you retire, your mortgage is paid off and children are on their own. How can anyone recieving these bloated pensions look the tax payer in the eyes and say they deserve, they need it, and it’s fair.

Pension benefits should be based on the average of all the years of service and should the payout should be 1%/year not 3%/year.

The children of the rich….

Russ J

Jerry Brown – why do we need high speed rail? California suckers – you’ll all be dead by the time it ever makes a run from LA to San Fran. What a waste of money!!!!!!!!!!!


Was the train thing Brown’s idea. Wow, he has some super powers seeing that this idea started years before he took office, he’s faster than a speeding bullet or should I say high speed train, he initiates ideas before he’s even in office. BTW, I thought that the train idea was dumped.


Brown has revived the bullet train and spoke to the issue in his state of the state address.


I haven’t heard that but good for him. If done right it could be a great boost to our economy.


I agree (yes I’m shocked to) with Typo. While I am not a Brown fan, fair is fair. This train thing came about before Brown and it was the people of California that voted for the iniative. So don’t blame the Govenor. blame the people Russ J.


“I agree (yes I’m shocked to) with Typo.”

Now you’ve done it. Be prepared for a lot of ‘thumbs down’ ratings.


Wait!!! To those who disagreed PLEASE state where I am wrong? Brown was NOT in office when this was passed. Show me your stats? Have some cajone’s and post a reply.


It’s simple. We don’t have the money now to do it, and the first stage to be built is from Bakersfield to Chowchilla or someplace like that. When we have the money, build it, but it’s not going to help our economy until the route is complete from San Francisco to LA.


BTDT is not saying that we should build the fast trains. He’s saying that it wasn’t Brown’s idea.

I on the other hand am on the table with this. I’m not a bean counter so I’m not sure if it would pencil out. But it seems like it would provide a lot of jobs, so in that way it might actually stimulate the economy. It also might promote and bring in more tourism.


OMG!! IT’S CALLED READING C-O-M-P-R-E-H–E-N-S-I-O-N!! Where for the love of GOD did I say anything about moneys one way or the other? I stated that the current Gov. had nothing to do with the implementation of and who did.

Also I can tell you that when it was on the ballot I voted against it. I vote against many a bonds because I understand that it isn’t free money, unlike a lot of voters that we have seem to think it is.

Just ask someone. I have asked people who pays for this? Answer, the Government. O.k. who is the Gov.? Then watch the blank look on their faces, not realizing that, yes it is you and I who pays for all this free money.

Last here is the root of why this country is SO screwed up. We seem to think we can’t or won’t talk to someone with a differnt opinion or background. It starts here and moves up. Simple case in point. I agreed and supported something of Typo and supported something that the current Gov. had no hand in. While I don’t usually agree with both, when they say something that is true, WHY do people have a hard time with it? What they have to hold some petty jelousy or something else because they said something before? So what. I don’t agree with Typo a lot but she made a right point. I’m not going to not agree with her over some past disagreement to not agree with her now. If we can’t work down on this level with trying to COMPROMISE as individuals, this country is SCREWED.


I feel your pain. People seem to misunderstand posts around here a lot.

People also don’t like to agree with others if they hold different political ideology, even if its something simple and benign. If you said that you agreed with me that the sun is hot, you’d be put to task just for agreeing with me. It doesn’t make sense.


LOL now you know what it’s like!


Global high speed train networks have been on the desktops of global transportation planners for decades ,


Just one more thing that we’re not number 1 at, or even #2. Looks like we just can’t be the best at much these days. It’s looking more and more like the USA has lost it’s glory days of innovation and striving to be the best. We have become more of a country that wants to move back to the past instead of forward to the future.


I missed the part where the Gubner realized that it was necessary (to balance budget AND reverse our trend of insolvency) to reverse the ill-gotten public salary and benefit gains of past.

I am embarrassed to say, that when times are good, that we are less diligent in our economic responsibilities. And here is where that has lead us.

10% wage and benefit cut for every state, county & municipal employee in the state.

Do the math, 10% would balance the budget with no further cuts of services. Remember all of the those consecutive 3-6% “cost of living” increases for so many years? 10% is negligible in comparison!

Many of us have sacrificed to stay solvent during these hard times. Now is the time for state workers to to step up and do the right thing to show their appreciation for having a pretty-much guaranteed job. When is the last time that Govt employment went down for more that 5 consecutive months? NEVER!!!



“10% wage and benefit cut for every state, county & municipal employee in the state.

Do the math, 10% would balance the budget with no further cuts of services. Remember all of the those consecutive 3-6% “cost of living” increases for so many years? 10% is negligible in comparison!”

Feasible, would undisputably be evidence of doing their fair share and would end the rant, but I am willing to bet that there will be large protest and law suits, it ain’t gonna happen!


I’m in a union, and my union deals with my company to get us the best pay and benefits it can. The company deals back with the thought of maximizing what the stockholders receive. Government workers’ unions deal with elected officials (while at the same time donating to their campaign coffers) and the elected officials decide what to give the union workers. But the elected officials aren’t looking out for the stockholders (taxpayers) at all, they either just don’t care or don’t have any foresight about future money problems.

In a related problem, if, due to the redistricting, the Democrats get a super majority they could raise taxes all they want, and eliminate prop 13. I’m sure they think that would solve all the money problems in California.


So as a union member, you can’t advance on your merits because there is some flunkie with more time in than you? Unions are the biggest scam since Madoff was born. Why pay someone to represent you? Can’t stand up for yourself?


“Can’t stand up for yourself?”

No. Have you tried to stand up to a billion dollar corp? I can see though how you of all people would want to do away with unions, after all they demand equal rights not just for women but all races.


The only time I remember getting free medical and pension contribution with no social security deduction was 1987-88. After 1988 we had to contribute.

Having been a State Union Rep, all the lead and head union members (unlike the private sector which I also had a part in) I have ever met were reasonable and conservative people.

I don’t think they will object to this plan in lieu of the potential alternatives already set in place, primarily because it is designed to be “reasonable!” It is better than nothing done!

I have been CALPERS retired 11 years and on Social Security for one year, and have NEVER had “free” medical and dental since 1988, the discount cost has been deducted from my past salaries and still being deducted from my pension as well. Additionally my pension is fully taxable to both state and federal, whereas my Social Security is not! In other words a percentage of my salary and state pension has always gone back to the state and federal coffer (financing top down). The bigger problem is trying to sustain the Social Security ahead of us. The positive side of my tax fee Social Security is that it still goes back to this community in basic necessities (financing bottom up) as I am now too old to handle the former work stress.

It’s not free, it’s not a luxury, it’s a paid for benefit, don’t envy us!

Ted Slanders


If only more of the CCN alumni would understand that you got what you paid for over the years! If the truth were known, the Union bashers do envy you, period! God forbid, a living wage, safe workplace, benefits, and now you’re on that fiightening entity of “SOCIAL Security” too?!

The individuals that are against Unions, and Social programs, will probably spontaniously combust if they read this thread, or your post! Be prepared!


Thank you Mr. Sanders

I am too old to give a damn.


Isn’t your salary/pension/benefits paid to you from taxpayers money? So when you pay taxes, it’s really OUR money coming back, no?

Bob Cob

Salaries are paid with taxes just like any company pays their employee from the money we spend at their establishment. Pensions come from the employees pay check deduction. And then is invested by PERS. In some cases u won’t use the money made by PERS or what ever retirement plan you have after you retire for 8 to 11 years.


Correction from an earlier post

My accountant corrected me and said, “both my PERS and Social Security are taxable” and was indeed taxed!

Some people were down on government employees

I first started in private industry, when I finished college I entered civil service, then into private industry (3X more pay) after intermittent layoffs I returned to civil service and retired.

I mentioned nothing was free and don’t envy us.

My point in that is, no matter what kind of job one has, it is work to earn money to pay the rent, bills, food, raise a family and other expense, and part of it government (including my social security) goes back to the state and federal government.

No matter who you work for, nothing is free, don’t envy the 99%


Your pension should be taxable just like someone’s IRA.


Excellent point but I can’t wait for all the pensioners to tell you how wrong you are.


In reading just what is shown here, it appears as if the Governor has set the bar at a very high standard both in showing a real attempt at serious reform without taking a clever to the existing agreements with the state employees and in some real world reality as to the implications of not attempting to change the state employees pension obligations. It is very possible that some in government service will object quite a bit, but I feel that most government employees realize they will have to bear the brunt of some cost cutting in the expense of running our governments. I personally would like to see the whole of the UC system, the CSU system and our community college system analyzed as to how much and exactly where some real hefty cuts could be made in the layers and layers of administrations.


This will never make it through the legislation. The union will never allow this unless they see the true light. Amen!


Oh here we go again, more union bashing. Ho hum.

Ted Slanders


SLOBIRD just doensn’t understand, does he? It’s so easy to just be against the unions without ANY knowledge of what they actually represent, and what slobird has today because of them.

Don’t you get tired of the union bashing IGNORANCE?


Getting pretty tired of it, Ted, and I’m not speaking of union bashing.

Ted Slanders


So, you’ve heard the same rumor, huh? Don’t worry, your posts will once again gain respect, all in due time.


Tired of what? Ted is spot on but I’m not sure what you’re tired of. I agree, I’m tired of this ignorant union bashing. It’s very predictable but the bashing is really getting old. All the worlds problems are because of the unions and Obama.


Typo and Ted. I don’t think you understand what SLOBird is saying–the unions are not going to support the cuts (Brown’s pension plan). That is not union bashing.


Well I read it as a union bashing. To me it looks like SLOBird is saying that the unions will cause more problems by causing this to fail. We don’t know that.


Typo, you see union bashing and racism in everything. Here is the latest story from the union point of view. Read it before you comment.


They haven’t caused this to fail. Of course they are going to object to any cuts to the members but they haven’t caused Brown’s actions to fail and I doubt very seriously that the could.


No typo, we’re not tired of unions, we’re outraged by public employee unions, and I’ll tell you why. In the private sector there are 3 chairs at the bargaining table; the employees, the employer, and the unoccupied by a human chair, the market. That third chair is what keeps the negotiations balanced, because both of the remaining parties understand if you drive the price of your product up by unreasonable demands, it won’t sell, and everybody loses. The bureaucrat has no such constraints. They are, in essence, bargaining with themselves. The result is inflated salaries, unrealistic pensions, and unsustainable healthcare plans.


Their salaries are going down, their benefits including their health care are starting to see cuts and many of them are losing their jobs (public employees). Sure, there are some that are taking advantage of the system, there are some problems, nothings perfect but they’re not all getting rich and sitting on wads of money as the right wants to paint it. If it weren’t for unions, prison personal would be in even more danger than they already are. People (even govt. workers) would be working 70 hour work weeks, there would be no mandatory lunch breaks, no minimum wages and Newt would have our kids picking up garbage on the side of hwy 101. We need unions. You make unions sound like big corps. Unions represent the people, the protect the regular working guys. The union leaders are elected in the true sense of a democracy. Even those in the private sector need protection. You say that they are bargaining against themselves. Unions are not a govt. entity.


I give up. Your comments are so ignorant they are not worth answering. Do you even realize that someone is talking about public employee unions that are costing more than the state can pay. You, on the other hand, are talking about unions in general and whether or not we should have unions. “The union leaders are elected in the true sense of a democracy” Ha, ha, ha. You don’t have a clue.

Do you even realize that we have state laws on the books about working conditions? Obama is the one who will have everyone picking up trash on the side of the road (public works program).

Speaking as a current union member and former union officer, you make me ill–so uninformed and thinking that you are competent to respond. Judging from your knee jerk reaction comments, you do unions more harm by defending them than opposing them. Unions have a place in our society; they do protect workers from abusive practices, but there is no reason to call people union bashers because they want to speak to certain issues with pensions.


I’m not going to respond to the first part of your nasty little post.

” “The union leaders are elected in the true sense of a democracy” Ha, ha, ha. You don’t have a clue.”

Fine, instead of being a jerk, why don’t you enlighten me. How do the leaders get there positions?

“Do you even realize that we have state laws on the books about working conditions?”

Thanks to the unions.

“Obama is the one who will have everyone picking up trash on the side of the road (public works program).””

LOL no that would be the Newt. But of course let’s bring Obama into the dirt.

No point in the rest of your post.