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Politics

2 ballot propositions take aim at public pensions




A Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) worker with SEIU Local 1021 casts his ballot in a strike authorization vote on June 25, 2013 in Oakland, California.
A Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) worker with SEIU Local 1021 casts his ballot in a strike authorization vote on June 25, 2013 in Oakland, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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California voters could get not one but two opportunities on the November 2016 ballot to change state and local public pensions.

That’s thanks to a pair of proposed ballot props put forth by a group led by the former Democratic San Jose mayor and longtime pension reform advocate, Chuck Reed.

One measure would switch new public employees from guaranteed pensions into market-invested 401Ks. The other would cap the percentage of retirement benefits that could be contributed by a city to individual employees.

Most new employees could receive up to 11 percent of base compensation to pensions, while firefighters and other public safety workers could receive up to a 13 percent contribution.

Opponents argue that altering public pensions would “chill hiring and retention” in the public workforce. Pensions would remain the same for employees with a current plan in place and changes would only apply to new employees.

Ballot box and court defeats have made it tough for cities to make substantial public employee pension reform benefits -- could this be their fix? Do you think public pension decisions should be a matter for voters?

Read more here.

Guests:

Jon Ortiz, reporter with the Sacramento Bee