California public pension payouts doubled in recent span

September 9, 2013

moneyThe 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.”




  1. slomike says:

    Tax the rich, including well off pensioners. 20% of the population took in 50% of the income in 2012. It is time we ALL paid our bills. When someone like Romney can create a Roth IRA worth $20 million, income tax is upside down. That way the rest of us won’t be trying to take each others meager stake in our economy.

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  2. rogerfreberg says:

    The problem is a simple one: you can’t payout what you haven’t set aside. Clearly the politicians have let us down. IN their ever increasing zeal to get elected at all costs, they mortgaged the future for the rest of us.

    There is plenty of blame to go around. The so-called ‘greatest generation’ driving around in their RV’s spending their government retirement of which they contributed little to nothing. They based their future living off the work of boomers.

    And now we get to public employees who love to say that they could make more in the private sector… when the truth is very different my friends. In the private sector, folks expect results. So when someone says they work 45 years in one job , what they mean to say is that they :1) work for themselves or 2) are a public employee. Working a long time as a public employee is not impressive… everybody does it. Working and surviving in the private sector is the real challenge.

    I don’t know if the ‘public employee salary and pension” bubble will ever burst… but steps should be taken to let out some of the hot air.

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    • r0y says:

      You can if you continually create a fiat currency out of thin air and we all agree that the emperor IS wearing clothes… a suit of money, if you will.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
      • zaphod says:

        The fed celebrates 100 years of creating currency out of thin air this year, if you have a better/believable method you should spit it out because everyone is tired of the abuses of our system .(there is no longer enough gold on the planet to back the agricultural industrial economic output OF ONE DAY in the global system.) If you know a better way great do tell, you may get an invite to the council on foreign relations, they are always on the lookout for a better way.

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