State Treasurer Lockyer quits pension advisory panel in protest
The debate over pension reform in California reached a boiling point Tuesday.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer resigned from a pension advisory panel to protest a study it was affiliated with that called for reducing retirement benefits for current public employees and overhauling the boards that oversee the public pension systems.
The study was issued by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and authored by Stanford public policy professor and former Democratic Assemblyman Joe Nation. It warned that the worsening finances of public pension systems in California would continue to squeeze state budgets unless there were significant changes.
In quitting the institute's pension advisory panel, Lockyer said he questioned the conclusions and methodology of the study.
“When it comes to public pensions, maybe SIEPR should stand for 'Stanford Institute to Eviscerate People’s Retirement,' " said Joe DeAnda, the treasurer’s press secretary. Lockyer said the study did not adequately consider the legal impediments to reducing benefits for current employees and ignored research indicating that retirement systems perform better when their boards include members of the retirement plan.
Nation said public pension systems need more dramatic changes than those proposed recently by Gov. Jerry Brown. "Although it offers many positive elements, Governor Brown’s proposal provides only modest additional cost savings,'' the study said.
-- Patrick McGreevy, reporting from Sacramento