California public pension payouts doubled in recent span
September 9, 2013
The average monthly pension payout for new retirees in California’s primary public pension system doubled between 1992 and 2012. [Sacramento Bee]
The average monthly payment for new retirees in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) increased from approximately $1,500 to $3,000, according to CalPERS data.
In the same 14-year span, pension payments to state and local police officers and firefighters tripled on average. The average first month pension payments to state police and firefighters increased from $1,770 to $4,978, while the first month payments to local police and firefighters increased from $3,296 to $6,867.
Over the same period, first month payments to California Highway Patrol officers doubled from $3,633 to $7,418. A $7,418 monthly payment equates to a yearly pension of more than $89,000.
The Sacramento Bee’s review of the CalPERS data showed that increases in pension formulas became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the subsequent increases in payments are still taking effect. Likewise, several years will pass before recent cuts to pension formulas take widespread effect.
CalPERS actuary David Lamoureux attributed the doubling in pension payouts largely to increases in salaries. He said salary growth explains “at least 50 percent” and “maybe closer to 70 to 75 percent” of the recent rise in pension payments. Lamoureux said increases in pension formulas “could easily account for another 20 percent of the increases.”