Jon Ortiz

The State Worker
By Jon Ortiz
August 4, 2015

  • CEO Anne Stausboll says ‘imprecise’ proposed ballot measure makes analysis difficult
  • Plan would close traditional benefit plans to new members, create ‘huge’ challenges
  • Proponent says CalPERS is ‘lying’ to maintain a ‘failed’ pension system

A proposed ballot measure that would make future pension benefits subject to voter approval is fraught with legal and administrative peril, according to a letter from CalPERS’ chief executive officer, eliciting a response from one of the measure’s proponents that the assessment is a “lie.”

The measure filed by former San Diego councilman Carl DeMaio and former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed would constitutionally require voter approval for future retirement-benefit increases. Employees hired on Jan. 2019 and later would not receive the kind of guaranteed pensions now common for public employees unless voters in each jurisdiction authorized continuing those plans.

While the measure would impact pension benefits, it also contains a provision that states it will not impact death or disability benefits.

But in a July 28 letter to Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, and obtained by The Sacramento Bee, fund executive Anne Stausboll said the measure could be interpreted as violating pension promises to current employees, might threaten CalPERS’ federal tax-exempt status and will create chaos by forcing employers to close their defined benefit programs to employees hired in 2019 and beyond.

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