Voter-Approved Pension Reform — First of Many?

San Diego and San Jose both passed measures Tuesday to reform pension benefits for public employees. Photo: Michel Boutefeu/Newsmakers

By Peter Jon Shuler

Overwhelming voter support for pension reform measures in San Diego and San Jose could open the floodgates for rollbacks to rising pension costs in other cities and counties. It could also give a boost to Governor Brown’s proposals for statewide pension reform.

Both city measures are designed to rein in pension costs for existing employees and create less generous retirement packages for new hires. Cities around California have been watching the measures closely.

“I have no question we’re going to be seeing lots of different agencies attempting to adjust benefits very similar to what San Diego and San Jose did,” said Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. She calls the Tuesday elections a mandate.

San Jose and San Diego unions quickly sued to block the measures. But Fritz says voter sentiment may take the issue to the state level and force Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento to take up Brown’s proposals.

Listen to the radio version of the story:

  • Anonymous

    It did not take long to go from bailing out those in the private sector who crashed the economy to blaming the public sector and starting its dismantling.