Is pension reform dead?

Today Jon Ortiz of the Sacramento Bee reported that since neither Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman will publicly support California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility‘s proposed pension reform initiative, the group will abandon efforts to get the measure onto the November 2010 ballot.

“We’re regrouping,” Marcia Fritz, CFFR’s president, told me in a follow-up interview. “We’re still advocating for pension reform, though mostly now at the local level. When you don’t have the leadership up at the top supporting you, it’s a bad sign.”

(Click here for my original story on CFFR’s proposed measure; click here for Troy Anderson’s recent take on the pressing need for pension reform).

Fritz said additional information that came to light after signature-gathering began indicated that the initiative was actually flawed, and could conceivably have allowed even greater pension benefits than are currently available to public employees.

“The unions could actually have opposed us saying our proposed benefits were too generous,” Fritz said.

Clearly, the magnitude of opposition gathering against the measure (Ortiz used the word “Armageddon”) exasperated Fritz. “Why do we even vote for people anymore?” she asked rhetorically. “Why not just give all the offices to the unions?”

-Anthony Pignataro

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