California Legislature sends governor package to cut costs of public pensions
The state Senate late Friday gave final legislative approval to a package of cost-cutting measures for the public pension system in California.
Following action earlier in the Assembly, the Senate voted 38-1 to send the pension changes to Gov. Jerry Brown, who had asked for much more but has said he would sign the compromise measure agreed to by lawmakers.
"I think it is a very significant step for California," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). "It actually changes the pension system going forward by requiring people to work longer before they get the maximum pension, recognizing that people are living longer."
The package requires current employees to pay 50% of the cost of their pension and caps the salary used to count benefits at $110,000, Steinberg noted after the 38-1 vote by the Senate. It also requires public employees who are not in public safety jobs to work to age 67 to get full retirement benefits.
Most Republicans voted for the pension bill while saying it was just a small step forward."Sadly, it falls far short of the 'historic' reform promised by the governor," said Sen. Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach).
Brown welcomed the legislative approval.
“With strong bipartisan support, the state Legislature today passed the biggest rollback of public pensions in California history,'' Brown said in a statement. "This sweeping pension reform package will save tens of billions of taxpayer dollars and make the system more sustainable for the long term.''
--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: State Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), left, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), confer during the Senate session Tuesday. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press