Sentinel's Impressive Pension Series

Steven Greenhut: The Santa Cruz Sentinel has produced an impressive series on the state of that community’s pension system and finds what other communities across the state are finding — soaring pensions costs, especially for police and firefighters and resulting in cuts in other services:

“For the past several years, belt tightening at City Hall has focused on shaving costs through layoffs, furloughs, freezing positions and delaying raises.

“The result has been fewer workers earning less while providing fewer services to taxpayers, many of whom have also lost jobs or seen their own income decline.

“Deciding that such a recipe for public service wasn’t sustainable, city leaders have sought a more holistic cost-cutting approach this year, one that zeroes in on a problem that has exacerbated declines in tax revenue and state raids: The rising cost of pensions.”

The series is well worth reading — not just for residents in that community but for insight into how pension increases have wreaked havoc across the state.

MAY 24

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  1. John Seiler
    John Seiler 24 May, 2011, 16:08

    If even far-left Santa Cruz is cutting reforming pensions, then it can be done everywhere.

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  2. scott griffiths
    scott griffiths 10 June, 2011, 10:25

    See the following – the political courage of Cuomo (and Christie)

    Cuomo Announces Plan To Fire Almost 10,000 Workers And Butcher Pensions
    Governor Andrew Cuomo is tackling New York state’s spending by limiting public employee pensions and cutting almost 10,000 jobs.
    According to the New York Times, Cuomo says the state can no longer afford to provide the “generous” benefits given to public workers in the past. The governor also targets the rampant benefit padding where workers step up their overtime the final year of employment to beef up their pensions.
    The same day he made this announcement, Cuomo also moved ahead on his plan to lay off up to 9,800 state employees. The Albany Times Union obtained a copy of the memo announcing state employees will start getting laid off in waves on July 15.
    Overall 30,000 employees will be affected by the layoffs as jobs are shifted from agency-to-agency.
    He joins New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in targeting public pensions to help relieve his state’s fiscal woes. Christie reached his deal with the senate this week, cutting pension benefits and health coverage for New Jersey state employees.
    Cuomo’s Tier VI pension proposal includes:
    • Raising the retirement age from 62 to 65
    • Ending early retirement
    • Requiring employees to contribute six percent of their salary for the duration of their career
    • Providing a 1.67 percent annual pension multiplier
    • Vesting after 12 years instead of 10 years
    • Excluding overtime from final average salary
    • Using a five year final average salary calculation with an 8 percent anti-spiking cap
    • Excluding wages above the Governor’s salary of $179,000 from the final average salary calculation
    • Eliminating lump sum payouts for unused vacation leave from the final average salary calculation
    • Prohibiting the use of unused sick leave for additional service credit at retirement.

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