AirTalk for October 17, 2013

Bipartisan coalition of CA mayors pushes for controversial public pension measure

San Jose Mayor Check Reed filed papers on Tuesday to put the public pension measure on the ballot.

flickr/SJRotary

San Jose Mayor Check Reed filed papers on Tuesday to put the public pension measure on the ballot.

Leading a coalition of mayors from San Bernardino, Santa Ana, Anaheim, and Pacific Grove, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed filed papers on Tuesday with the Attorney General’s office seeking to put a public pension measure on next year’s statewide ballot. If approved, the Pension Reform Act of 2014 would give state and local governments the power to lower current employees’ pension and retiree health benefits by changing the California constitution, even though they were determined through collective bargaining agreements.

Currently, pensions promised to workers cannot be altered under California’s constitution without adequate compensation. Big Labor is expectedly fuming. Dave Low, chairman of labor coalition Californians for Retirement Security, issued a statement and called Reed’s plan an “extreme proposal, advanced by a career politician.”

Is it fair for state and local governments to have that authority to strip down benefits already promised to workers? Even if it’s passed, is such a ballot legal?

Guests:

Chuck Reed, Democratic Mayor of San Jose, who’s spearheading the “Pension Reform Act of 2014”

Terry Brennand, Vice Chair, Californians for Retirement Security; State Council Senior Governmental Advocate, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)


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