Attacks on pension reform in California exposed by Dan Borenstein

borenstein-california-pension-reformIn an op-ed that appeared Nov 22 in the Los Angeles Daily News, Dan Borenstein, of the Bay Area New Group BANG), exposed the falsehoods, myths, and lies used by public employee unions and their allies in the legislature for their attacks on pension reform in California. Continue reading “Attacks on pension reform in California exposed by Dan Borenstein”

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Bankruptcy for Stockton and Vallejo California…AGAIN!

A local newspaper headline announces bankruptcy in Stockton, CaliforniaStockton and Vallejo California, two middling cities already famous for their respective municipal bankruptcy via mismanagement and out-of-control public pension costs, have predictably reached the pinnacle of failure yet again. And we didn’t have to wait long to see it happen. As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s Deja vu all over again!” Continue reading “Bankruptcy for Stockton and Vallejo California…AGAIN!”

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Retired Deputy for pension coverup

Retired Contra Costa County Deputy Sheriff seeks to ban disclosure of county pension information

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The California Foundation for Financial Responsibility (CFFR) has been requesting and releasing information on public employee retirees who receive pensions above $100,000 (see http://www.californiapensionreform.com/calpers/). Contra Costa County has its own retirement system and a California Records Act request was made for that data by the CFFR. A former CCC Sheriff is seeking a restraining order to keep the pension information from the public. It is unlikely she will prevail – nor should she. Just like salary information for public employees is widely available (CoCoTax has it on our website), those in the $100,000 Pension Club will soon be revealed.

It is really outrageous that people who expect the taxpayers to pay for their pensions, don’t want the amounts made public. The courts have been consistently on the side of disclosure.

Public employee pensions, unlike those in the private sector are almost uniformly “defined benefit” pensions. That means those retirees get their pension (plus cost of living raises) no matter what happens to the investments of the pension plan. Unfortunately, it is the taxpayers that have to make up any losses for government employees while also covering the losses to their own retirement investments. How sweet a deal is that for government employees, and how raw a deal for the taxpayers.

Pensions are a large and growing expense for state and local government. The citizens of Contra Costa County are about to find out just how large those pension costs are.

Irwin v Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association


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Many County retirees get healthcare for as low as one cent per month

This should curl your toes… according to the County’s OPEB Task Force Report available on both the County and CoCoTax websites:

The County had 8,428 active employees and 5216 retirees and surviving spouses as of 1/1/06

The County contributes 80% of retiree health plan cost for most plan options and adds an amount equal to the Medicare Part B rate to this contribution. In many cases this means the retiree’s contribution is nominal. 60% of retirees are over age 65 and pay 1 cent a month: 40% of retired are under age 65 and pay 20% of the cost.

Eligibility for County retiree health coverage only requires that the participant be eligible for a County pension benefit.

A co-pay???… oh no, not that! What an injustice to the working people of this County!

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California Legislative Analyst Office releases pension and health benefit report

The Public Employees Post-Employment Benefits Commission—appointed by leaders of the California Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger—released an over-300-page report this morning on pension and retiree health benefits policy for state and local governments in California.

A first-of-its-kind statewide survey identified at least $118 billion in unfunded retiree health (also known as OPEB) liabilities, as self-reported by state and local governments in California, and an unfunded pension liability for all public systems of $63.5 billion. This means that, while pension liabilities are 89 percent funded statewide, retiree health liabilities generally are not funded at all. The bipartisan commission concluded that “prefunding OPEB benefits is just as important as prefunding pensions,” and “the ultimate goal of a prefunding policy should be to achieve full funding.”

For links to the commission’s report, press release, and other materials, visit the LAO Retiree Health Care News and Reports Web site at: http://www.lao.ca.gov/retireehealth/RetSummary.aspx?id=358

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Applause for Langley’s editorial in Transcript

Congratulations to Peter Langley for his Community Forum View Points opinion column in the Jan 3-08 Concord Transcript. Seemingly, for once, instead of ignoring the elephant in our living room, that important editorial space was used to talk about a critical community problem. Langley presented a thoughtful essay about the awful mess Contra Costans face in the $227-million/yr. deficit the County faces with its inability to pay for promised lifetime employee healthcare benefits (OPEB).

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