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Jerry Brown set to outline pension changes

August 28, 2012 |  6:00 am

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers have reached a deal on tweaks to the state’s pension system, according to key lawmakers and administration sources. Brown is expected to outline the details of the agreement at a Tuesday morning press conference.

But the announcement will not be in Sacramento, home of the reporters that have followed the twists and turns of the complex policy and political negotiations over the last several months. Instead, Brown will fly from Oakland to Los Angeles on Tuesday to make the announcement at a hastily called press conference announced late Monday evening.

Brown spokesman Gil Duran said Brown chose Los Angeles for the announcement simply because it was the largest city in the state.

Under terms of the deal, the governor backed away from the centerpiece of his 12-point pension plan: a plan to turn pensions for new workers into a mix of the existing system, which guarantees payouts to workers, and a 401(k)-style plan, according to Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena), chairman of the joint legislative committee dealing with the pension issue.

Instead, the proposal will cap the amount of salary that a pension can be based on at $110,000. Cities and counties and other local jurisdictions will have the option of offering an additional benefit to those who make more than the cap, but there will be no such option for state workers.

Brown will also introduce a tiered system that will allow workers to collect full pensions at age 67 and will increase the age to 57 for public safety workers, Furutani said. Currently, most state workers receive maximum pension benefits at age 63 –- up to 2.4% of their highest salary for every year worked, according to CalPERS.  

"We have landed the plane," said Furutani, a reference to the often difficult task of negotiating a pension deal with Brown. "This is going to be a major, comprehensive reform of the public pension systems."

Brown’s announcement is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Stay tuned to PolitiCal for details.

-- Anthony York and Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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