By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
The public employee pension reform plan enacted by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown this year was minimalism.
They did just enough to say that they did something, believing that failure to do something about soaring pension costs would adversely affect Proposition 30, the tax increase measure that they wanted voters to enact.
Brown, et al., promised that it was merely a first step and that other reforms would follow, but with Proposition 30 now safely passed, the chances of any further state pension changes probably are scant.
In fact, while state pension costs have been increasing, they still represent a relatively small part of the state budget, because personnel costs are a relatively small part of the budget. Most of the state’s money is given to others – schools, colleges and counties, particularly – to be spent.
Proportionately, rising pension costs hit city governments the hardest, because their budgets are primarily spent on employees, especially police and fire personnel, who have the highest pensions of any California public workers.
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