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CalPERS hails Jerry Brown's "sweeping changes" to public pensions

August 29, 2012 |  6:09 pm

The governing board of the nation's largest public pension system gave positive early reviews to Gov. Jerry Brown's pension deal Wednesday, but said more work needed to be done before they could say how much money the plan would save.

The chief actuary for the California Public Employees Retirement System, however, said early estimates indicated the plan would save state and local governments as much as $40-60 billion over the next three decades, but said that was just a rough first estimate.

In a statement, the board, which has been criticized by Gov. Jerry Brown for being too cozy with labor unions, hailed the administration compromise as "sweeping reforms of current pension law."

"CalPERS believes that the proposal includes significant changes that will help to protect and ensure the sustainability of the retirement fund, reduce abuse and add protections, ease administration, and moderate pension costs over time."

But board members raised concerns about potential legal hurdles to the governor's efforts to end the right of current employees to purchase pension credits for time they have not actually worked. And they said state officials may not be able to prevent current workers who are convicted of a felony from collecting retirement benefits.

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-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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