By PE News
on April 21, 2010 11:08 PM

Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth introduced legislation Wednesday to change the retirement system for state workers as a way to reduce pension costs.

His proposal, SB 919, would raise the retirement age for non-safety employees from 55 to 65. It would increase the retirement age for CHP officers, firefighters and other safety employees from 50 to 57. In addition, it would cut the number of employee classifications that qualify for more lucrative public safety retirement benefits.

“The current government worker program we have is unaffordable, unsustainable and, if it continues unchanged, it will lead to fiscal ruin for California,” Hollingsworth, R-Murrieta, said at an afternoon news conference with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legislation’s chief sponsor.

Public-employee unions are certain to fight the proposal. Many Democrats and even some of Hollingsworth’s Republican colleagues are likely to oppose it.

Some Republican lawmakers have close ties to public-safety labor unions. In 2002, several GOP lawmakers supported making milk inspectors, billboard inspectors and others eligible for public-safety pensions — a change Hollingsworth’s bill would roll back.

Hollingsworth said he and GOP caucus members talked about his legislation Wednesday.

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