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California legislative panel advances plan to cut public pension costs

August 28, 2012 |  7:50 pm

A joint legislative committee on Tuesday night approved a package of sweeping changes to public pensions  in California aimed at saving taxpayers tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades.

The conference committee voted to send the changes to the two houses, where they will be voted on as AB 340 by midnight Friday, the end of the legislative session.

"We’ve put together a comprehensive plan on pension reform, and I think it's going to make great changes for the benefit of the people of California and its budget," said Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena), co-chair of the Assembly-Senate Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions.

The 10-point plan raises the age of retirement for new employees, requires new and current workers to contribute half of the cost of their pensions and includes a $110,000 cap on the salary that will be used to calculate pensions.

Republican members, including  Sen. Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel) abstained from the vote, complaining that they had just received the 38-page bill language an hour before the hearing.

 "I feel like we are being jammed on this," Walters, the vice chairwoman, told the panel. "I think it would be extremely irresponsible for us to vote on this today."


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento