Assemblyman Cameron Smyth announced today that he will be introducing two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing California’s future pension obligations and providing a sustainable plan to provide fair public retirement benefits. Smyth’s package, which will be introduced this week, mirrors the proposal that Governor Jerry Brown sent to the legislature in October.
“Several months ago, Governor Brown released the blueprint for his twelve point pension reform plan,” said Smyth. “His plan takes the necessary steps to prevent the bankruptcy of state and local governments, protect funding for education and public safety, and ensure fair and reasonable retirements for government workers. My colleagues and I support his proposal, which is why I have introduced his plan as both an Assembly Bill and as an Assembly Constitutional Amendment.”
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Smyth’s proposal has a number of key components, including equal sharing of pension costs for all employees, as well as a hybrid risk-sharing plan and increased retirement ages for new hires. Additionally, the plan would change the calculation formula and prohibit the purchase of service credit for time not worked, which serve to prevent pension spiking and retroactive pension increases. Smyth noted that there are several areas that he hopes to address that are not sufficiently covered in Governor Brown’s plan.
“There are two main issues that still need to be worked out,” said Smyth. “First, the Governor’s plan does not address the pension liabilities of the University of California system. Additionally, with regard to CalSTRS, his plan only requires that it be deemed actuarially sound, a vague standard that needs to be more explicitly defined.”
The call for pension reform has grown in recent years, with a number of local ballot measures currently in circulation throughout the state. In a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, 83 percent of those polled said that the amount of government spending on pensions is a problem.
“We have seen a number of polls that show Californians overwhelmingly support pension reform,” said Smyth. “I thank the Governor for providing a solid blueprint for pension reform, and I am pleased to be authoring his plan in the Assembly.”
The outline of Governor Brown’s 12-point pension reform plan can be found at http://gov.ca.gov/docs/Twelve_Point_Pension_Reform_10.27.11.pdf