LA Mayor Villaraigosa vows to place pension reforms on ballot

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is vowing to place his pension reform proposals on next spring's municipal ballot, if the City Council refuses to approve them.

Villaraigosa made the comment at the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Orlando. It sets up a political showdown with the City Council, which to date has agreed only to analyze his pension reform proposals. Many on the Council enjoy substantial backing from labor unions opposed to the changes.

Under the mayor’s plan, the retirement age to receive full benefits would jump from 55 to 67 for new city workers. His proposal would also cap benefits at 75 percent of an employee’s final salary and reduce pension cost-of-living adjustments. Current city workers would not be affected.

The proposal, designed to address the rising costs of pensions, is more modest than one recently approved by San Diego voters. That measure moved new city workers into 401(k)-style retirement plans.

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