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Jerry Brown to sign pension changes in Los Angeles

September 12, 2012 |  7:00 am

Brown pension August

Gov. Jerry Brown still has about 700 bills left on his desk, but he's going to take care of perhaps the most closely watched issue on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.

The governor will sign legislation to cut public employee pension costs at the Ronald Reagan State Building, nearly one year after he outlined his original proposal. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) are scheduled to join Brown.

The legislation will force workers to pay more for their pensions, raise the retirement age for new employees and cap pensions for those with the higher salaries.

Democratic lawmakers rushed the changes through the Legislature in the last days of the legislative session, which ended after midnight on Sept. 1.

The final legislation is softer than the original proposal, which would have required new employees to rely partially on retirement accounts similar to 401(k). Brown defended his compromises in an interview with the Bay Area News Group's editorial boards on Tuesday.

"What I got was the most that could be gotten," he said. "Is it enough? No."

The California pension system, known as CalPERS, said the legislation could save the state between $40 billion and $60 billion over the next 30 years. However, state's pension problem is much larger than that, and officials have estimated a $164 billion shortfall. Some independent analysts say the gap is actually billions of dollars larger.


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Gov. Jerry Brown takes softer line in latest plan to rein in pension costs

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown prepares to discuss a deal on pension changes last month in August. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press