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Pension Reform Campaigns

2015/16 Reed and DeMaio Pension Reform Ballot Initiative

Round Two … after rejecting the state issued title and summary from their June 2015 efforts, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio submitted two new reforms that they hope to put on the November 2016 ballot.

The main push of the initiatives is to eliminate defined benefit pensions and to have the general public vote on retirement benefits for public employees.

Documents of interest:

Measure 1 (15-0076)
Elimination of Defined Benefit Retirement
Title and Summary

Measure 2 (15-0077)
Capping Retirement and Cutting Pay
Title and Summary

Here are some additional links:

~ The Sacramento Bee (December 10, 2015)
“California pension overhaul advocates move forward after Kamala Harris issues analyses”

~ Los Angeles Daily News (December 10, 2015)
“Voters may be asked to decide definition of a public pension”

~ Article in Calpensions with good background information and explanation

~ California Policy Center poll. Polling done in August so based on previous initiative’s language but still relevant.


2013 Reed “Pension Insecurity” Reform Initiative 

Mayor Reed has submitted language to the California Office of the Attorney General for consideration for the November 2014 election.  The CalRTA Board of Directors has adopted an action plan to address this initiative.

CalRTA’s Bylaws and objectives are to protect pension benefits for current and future retired educators. The proposed initiative, if qualified, is contrary to those objectives.

UPDATE 3-14:  Mayor Reed did not win his suit.  Because there isn’t enough time to gather signatures for the November election he has officially halted the 2014 campaign.  Speculation right now is that he’ll look at getting an initiative on the 2016 ballot.  Watch for updates!

UPDATE 2-14:  Mayor Reed has filed suit against the Attorney General over the wording of the ballot summary.  Reed’s team won’t gather signatures until after the suit is resolved … and with time running out it appears this initiative probably won’t make it on the November 2014 ballot. Of course there’s always 2016 …

UPDATE 1-14:  The Attorney General of California has prepared the title and summary of the Chuck Reed/John Arnold initiative.  The word “eliminates” was used in the description, which polled as about the only word that would cause people to vote against the initiative. Reed has publicly said he’ll decide by the end of January how he plans to proceed.

CalRTA and the CalRTA PAC will launch next steps as needed once Reed makes his plans known.  Watch for updates.

Official Title and Summary

Article in The Fresno Bee

CalRTA Pension Talking Points and Background Information

Pension Initiative Language from Attorney General’s Website

US and CA Constitution Language Pertaining to Contracts

Article in the Sacramento Bee about the November Change to the Initiative’s Language


2012 Pension Reform Impacts on CalSTRS

CalSTRS has conducted an assessment of AB 340, the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013, and its impact on CalSTRS members and operations and outlined key changes.  Details


Governor Brown’s 2012 Pension Reform Plan

Read CalRTA’s position on the Plan.

Governor Brown has proposed a Twelve Point Pension Reform proposal. Unlike his spring proposals he did not include any reference to improving CalSTRS funding; however, in response to a question regarding CalSTRS funding, the Governor indicated they were working on it.

Most of the proposals appear to be targeted at CalPERS and local public employee pension plans. There are some points that would affect current and future CalSTRS members; however, the Governor was unclear about those potential effects.

For example, it is clear that “air- time” could no longer be purchased after the effective date of its repeal. However, when the Governor proposed hybrid plans it was unclear if he was including CalSTRS, who already has a hybrid plan, in that proposal. The Governor’s proposal addresses return to work based on the CalPERS model. It is unclear whether he intends to have that same model apply to CalSTRS.

The Conference Committee on Public Employee Pensions is expected to use the Governor’s proposal as a starting point for their deliberations. We have no expectation they will adopt the proposal in totality as introduced by the Governor.

Here are the 12 Points of the Plan and who the change would affect:

1. Equal Sharing of Pension Costs: All Employees and Employers

2. “Hybrid” Risk-Sharing Pension Plan: New Employees

3. Increase Retirement Ages: New Employees

4. Require Three-Year Final Compensation to Stop Spiking: New Employees

5. Calculate Benefits Based on Regular, Recurring Pay to Stop Spiking: New Employees

6. Limit Post-Retirement Employment: All Employees

7. Felons Forfeit Pension Benefits: All Employees

8. Prohibit Retroactive Pension Increases: All Employees

9. Prohibit Pension Holidays: All Employees and Employers

10. Prohibit Purchases of Service Credit: All Employees

11. Increase Pension Board Independence and Expertise

12. Reduce Retiree Health Care Costs: State Employees

Here is a PDF file of the 12-point plan with more details on each item.