Quote of the Day

“The Roundtable believes that California cannot foster a healthy business climate and stronger economy without pension reform. The State’s pension plans are dangerously underfunded. Unless California makes serious changes, pensions will consume an ever-larger share of the budget, forcing State and local governments to increase taxes and cut essential services, such as building infrastructure and maintenance, that are the backbone of the economy.”

—The California Business Roundtable, in an amicus brief filed with the California Supreme Court.

The California Supreme Court is considering a case challenging the modest and absolutely necessary reforms in the Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) of 2012. PEPRA was far from enough reform. But public employees unions want to strike it down.

“In its brief, the Roundtable urges the Court to reject the California Rule* and overrule any cases that have adopted it because the Rule infringes on the Legislature’s sovereign right and duty to protect public employers, public employees, and California citizens,” a Roundtable press release says.

Stockton is in an odd position with pensions. They will double in the next decade, bringing the city to the edge of a second bankruptcy — but not over it, city leaders assert. I’m not so sure. The combined power of CalPERS (the state pension mismanagement system) and public employee unions to crush California fiscally cannot be overstated.

Stockton’s City Manager Kurt Wilson calculates that so many other cities are worse off than Stockton that the carnage of mass municipal bankruptcy surely in the offing will compel lawmakers to act. That may be so, though tellingly none of the leading gubernatorial candidates pounding the table for reform. So this court case is a battle for the future of California and Stockton.

*Holds that public employee pension benefits for years not yet worked can never be reduced.

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  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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