Democrats kill pension reform bills

Democrats kill pension reform bills

June 21, 2012

By Katy Grimes

Antics today in the California Senate hit an all time low when Democrats blocked attempts to bring public pension reform bills SB 1176 and Senate Constitutional Amendment 18 to the Senate Floor for a vote in order to make the November ballot deadline.

Senate Republicans had adopted Gov. Jerry Brown’s 12-point pension reform plan, and placed the language in the two bills. Still Senate Democrats killed chances for much needed reform for the state, as well as for public employees.

Is this “goodbye sweet California?”

Several of the Senate Republicans spoke about this serious political constipation, and reminded colleagues that SB 1176 and SCA 18 were bipartisan bills.

“You had an opportunity to bring the governor’s public pension reform plan to the Senate floor, to debate it in the open, and you said no,” said Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar. “The proof is this: Where was the vote today? You don’t want to have a debate in public. You want to work on a secret plan behind closed doors, away from public view.”

 

“That’s the whole point of this effort to bring public pension reform to the Senate Floor,” Huff said in a statement immediately following the floor session. “If we’re all elected to represent Californians equally and honorably, let us all have an equal seat at the table. Don’t just shut Republicans out because you don’t like what we have to say.”

“We need pension reform,” Huff said. “We should have an honest debate. The public should be involved with this effort.”

“There is still time to put this on the ballot,” Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, said. LaMalfa reminded colleagues of the two cities in California which just voted to approve pension reform in the June 5 election: “Voters passed pension reform in San Jose by 70 percent, and 66 percent in San Diego. This is the mood of the state, and across the country.”

“The Senate Conference Committee on Pensions refused to hear the plans,” Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Riverside, said. “But June 28 is the last day to put pension reform on the ballot. We need ironclad, guaranteed reforms–don’t be afraid to let the people vote.”

In his State of the State address in January, Gov. Jerry Brown said that pension reform was urgent. Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, quoted Brown on his pension reform plan: “Examine it, improve it, but please, do something real.”

“There are three times the number of people retiring as are going into the workforce,”  Harman quoted Brown saying, and said it was unsustainable.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Pension Conference Committee ended public hearings without debate, without discussion, and without a vote on the governor’s pension reform language,” said Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Irvine. “Since the Conference Committee began, I have repeatedly, and publicly, raised concerns about a secret backroom pension deal being negotiated.  I am on the Pension Conference committee and I have not been invited to participate in drafting any pension reform language, nor have I even seen a draft of any such language.”

Closed-door talks

“What we’re asking is for the legislative Democrats to give the public a chance to vote on the pension proposal that was written by the governor, a member of their own party,” said Huff.  “But the window of opportunity is closing quickly.”

“The Democrats claim to be serious about solving Californian’s pension crisis, yet they continue to deny the people of California an opportunity to vote on this important issue,” Huff reported.

“We’ve just witnessed my Democrat colleagues pass their half-baked budget based on closed door talks that shut out the public,” adds Huff.  “Now they seem intent on denying the public a vote on pensions. Closed door deals and back room negotiations are hardly the recipe for meaningful reform.”

“Rest assured, this plan is moving forward,” Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Montclair, said. McLeod said she didn’t understand what the fuss by Republicans was about. “You will have a chance to look at it,” McLeod said.

But the icing on the cake in this debate was from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who mocked Republicans for aligning with Brown. “The idea that members of the minority party are in lockstep with Gov. Brown is an audacious statement,” Steinberg said. “The Group of Five, or whatever moniker they are using, offered comprehensive pension reform, but we all know it could not pull the trigger and defy the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and put tax language on the ballot,” Steinberg said.

Steinberg accused Republicans of cherry picking what parts of state policy they would participate in, and said pension reform wasn’t the only pertinent issue on the table.

Huff said that Republicans would like to participate in all parts of government, like the budget talks, but Democratic leadership was holding all negotiations and talks behind closed doors, preventing even Republican leadership from participating. “The public should be involved,” Huff said. But he said, because the special interests at the Capitol didn’t like reforms last year, Democrats were adamantly controlling the process, even by locking out members of the majority party.

Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, reminded colleagues that he hadn’t signed the no-tax pledge, and said he was tired of Democrats using that as a reason not to deal. Cannella said that as a member of the Republican Group of Five, “We still remain ready to work at every level of government.”

“We’re going to get pension reform done,” Steinberg said. “The proof will be in what we produce.”

 

21 comments

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  1. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 21 June, 2012, 20:49

    It’s a joke that Steinberg would believe that Republicans have any power at all. Democrats hold all the power, and will get all the blame when the state goes bankrupt.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  2. Eric in SR
    Eric in SR 21 June, 2012, 23:07

    Katy, you’ve done another outstanding investigative job here, but you’re being too generous in referring to the “California Senate.” I’d refer to the state legislature as the “California Politburo” instead.

    Reply this comment
  3. Eric in SR
    Eric in SR 21 June, 2012, 23:21

    Indeed, the 55% of voters who passed Proposition 25 in 2010 completely deprived the GOP of any control whatsoever over the budget process and end result. So much for anything Steinberg said in this post.

    Reply this comment
  4. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 June, 2012, 23:23

    Like I said, the pension sales tax is DOA-for this very reason, the pension scam is over, public will not raise taxes “for the children” when GED gov employees are receiving $10 million pensions at age 50.

    Reply this comment
  5. Donkey
    Donkey 22 June, 2012, 05:06

    Stienberg, Perez, both commie fools playing quarterback for the RAGWUS. Every Californian with an ounce of sense will be working to prevent any revenue enhancement for the beast. Let it die a painful death.

    Rex you are so correct about, ” GED gov employees are receiving $10 million pensions at age 50,” not one penny more for these crooks. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  6. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 June, 2012, 07:24

    It is tiresome skimming post bashing government workers who just may save your life or educate your children.

    Reply this comment
  7. Donkey
    Donkey 22 June, 2012, 08:03

    It is not the individual that is being bashed UU, it is the RAGWUS organization which is run by a few commie socialists that is being outed. The individual RAGWUS member is overpaid and underworked, of this there is no doubt. However it is the RAGWUS inner cabal that is the enemy of the private sector. It is the insiders of the RAGWUS that came up with 3%@50, hidden license plates, spiking of pensions, immunity from obeying law, naming highways and parks after RAGWUS members, discounted housing, discounted cars, free city gas, dozing for dollars, the list is so shameful, but as an inside RAGWUS feeder you have no shame. To you all the stealing is just a perk! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  8. Ted Steele, The Decider
    Ted Steele, The Decider 22 June, 2012, 08:31

    It is pretty dull out here Mr. Pack n Ship……I agree—–

    I think the dems think they have a better plan?

    Reply this comment
  9. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 June, 2012, 09:20

    No gov porker has “saved” my life, I want a refund 😉

    Reply this comment
  10. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 June, 2012, 09:56

    Teddy…Dems. want quality workers and decent pay attracts them. They are more productive and more attentive in a service economy. This is not an emerging economy exploited bg globalists and Wonder Donkey capitalist slave labor traders!!!!

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 June, 2012, 11:36

    Gov employees are bottom of the barrel, due to cronyism and nepotism.

    Reply this comment
  12. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 June, 2012, 12:29

    Wonder…who do you like?

    Anyone? Are you endeared?

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 June, 2012, 13:34

    For president??? I am Independant 🙂

    Reply this comment
  14. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 June, 2012, 14:03

    Not an answer…who in whole whole world did you ever like?

    Reply this comment
  15. Hondo
    Hondo 22 June, 2012, 15:07

    Mr. Uhaul:
    Remember when the firefighters in Alameda let some guy drown because the union said so? As a former firefighter I consider those firefighters to be a disgrace to the human race. Some lady had to wade out into the water to drag the guy in. So don’t give me that crap about saving lives.
    Gov. Brown said it. 3 times as many public workers are retiring as are being hired. That math is simple and doesn’t add up. The only way to balance the budget and retain any services is to do a Wisconsin.
    Hondo….

    Reply this comment
  16. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 June, 2012, 16:18

    Not an answer…who in whole whole world did you ever like?

    H. Ross Perot…yeah, he was a little kookie, but he had a plan and it was a plan that would work….

    Reply this comment
  17. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 22 June, 2012, 20:17

    Boy did he get far.

    Conspiracy under every toadstool.

    Reply this comment
  18. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 June, 2012, 10:09

    For an Independant he went further than anyone, and was within 12 points of eventual winner Clinton, and was leading CA 45 points to Clintons 30 points to Bush’s 20 points before he DROPPED OUT

    Reply this comment
  19. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 23 June, 2012, 12:37

    Always bowing to losers?

    Reply this comment
  20. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 June, 2012, 19:36

    WINNING 🙂

    Reply this comment
  21. Nona Tellue
    Nona Tellue 1 September, 2012, 02:21

    Ok haters- lets look at some real numbers…

    I live in an affluent area of SoCal and work at Whole Foods for $28/hr (great benefits non-union). I have only an AS degree.

    My husband works for a Fire Dept and earns a base salary of $26/hr (ok benefits – union).

    You can do the math – we make a nice living. I go to work in an air conditioned building, am not exposed to harmful toxins, have a predictable schedule, never deal with dead bodies or have blood, urine, or fecal matter as part of my day. I don’t get into cars that are destroyed in the middle of the freeway while people speed by, and I don’t have to run into burning buildings. My employer pays for my health ins (and my family ) I get all sorts of great perks too – o yeah I also work a 40hr work week and get OT for anything beyond that & if I work on a holiday I get more OT!

    My husband works a 56hr work week before he is paid any overtime – and pays for 65% of his county health care plan. He’s been treated for TB (confirmed work exposure) been exposed to hepatitis, assaulted, broken bones, burns on feet that required hospitalization, stitches more times then I can count. His ears are feel like the soles of mens feet because they have been burned some many times over the last 15 years. During the summer here when the hillsides burn he will leave for days and sometimes weeks at a time (yes weeks). When it rains he swims into nasty drainage ditches for swift water rescues. When the people of La Conchita ignored the evacuations orders he climbed through debris and unstable landslide to extricate people. He has been on 32 child drownings. He provides medical attention to stabbing and shooting victims on scenes that are not secure. He and his co-workers go into your burning homes when they know there is no one inside to rescue to save your worldly possessions. And when things get really bad and there are not enough people to fill the ranks he takes your mandates (this is when I go to funerals by myself or have Christmas alone because he isn’t allowed to take his day off) and did I mention that he works holidays for straight pay?
    I could go on – but why? These firefighters are the problem. They shouldn’t get a public retirement and when you take that wpaway from them they will in fact make less per hour then I do in my safe comfy grocery store. It’s not like you get what you pay for. O and by the way let’s just say, to keep it simple, you live in an average home in my area (costing $560k) that would make your property taxes about $5,600/yr. Have you ever looked at what percentage of that piece goes to the fire Dept (check it out you would be surprised) and while your checking on that look up how your homeowners policy is priced (distance from station, departments rating and the like). Now if your still pissed look up an area that has inferior services and call an insurance agent for a quote to see what your homeowners policy will cost per year in an area with inferior service. Now go ahead and assume that major losses are suffered by insurers when the firefighters don’t work tirelessly to keep the fire from taking your whole neighborhood out (cause we cut out that gross over compensation via retirements and people would rather work in a comfy private sector job that will then be abundant because we will end this waste and grow our economy). That won’t affect rates – and the state won’t have to step in and offer insurance to home buyers because lenders won’t care if the property isnt insured and that won’t affect property values in any way. Besides if the state did have to offer insurance to more people I’m sure it’s as good of coverage and very cost effective for the tax payers who fund it.

    Reply this comment

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