Reason Foundation held its third annual Pension Summit in Sacramento last week. A group of fiscally sane leaders tried to figure out how to overcome the anti-democratic unions blocking desperately needed reforms.
Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat, and former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, “are working with a coalition on a statewide initiative to help local governments make cost-cutting pension reforms,” reports Calpensions.
Pension reform is a must. Bloated, unsustainable pensions are hogging the revenue of even the most affluent cities, at the expense of government’s broader public missions, police, fire, roads, libraries and so on.
But union minorities block majority reform every step of the way. In Ventura County, voters got an initiative on the ballot to switch public employees to 401(k)s like everyone else has. Unions succeeded in shooting down the measure in court. Three-quarters of San Jose voters approved pension reform, but unions thwarted them in court. California Pension Reform had a promising reform initiative in the works, but they called it off when Attorney General Kamala Harris sabotaged the measure with stilted, misleading ballot language.
“In San Diego, paid signature gatherers for the pension reform initiative posted at retail stores were often joined by “blockers,” union members and others who urged shoppers not to sign the petition,” Calpensions reports.
And on and on. Unions even picketed the Pension Summit.
But pension reform is worth fighting for. Fiscally healthier cities would be a worthy legacy to our children. So if a signature gatherer asks you to sign a pension reform petition, sign it. Even if you have to push a union “blocker” out of the way.