California committee defeats pension reform bill

SACRAMENTO — A Senate committee has defeated a bill backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would have cut California's long-term pension costs by reducing benefits for newly hired state employees.

Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth's bill would have required new state employees to pay more toward their retirement. Most would have to work 10 years longer, until age 65, to be eligible for retirement benefits.

Hollingsworth, a Republican from Murrieta, says his bill would have saved the state $110 billion over 30 years.

Schwarzenegger has made pension reform a priority of his final year in office. He says the pension system's unfunded liabilities endanger the state's long-term fiscal health.

The bill, SB919, failed on a party-line vote in the Public Employment and Retirement Committee Monday.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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