Pension costs can be cut now

Published: Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 - 11:10 am

Re "Harris may be last word on pensions" (The State Worker, Jon Ortiz, Dec. 26): The attention on San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's pension measure is misplaced. The proposed initiative would allow state and local government agencies power to change retirement benefits prospectively for employees, but the measure isn’t necessary. The tools needed for state and city governments to reduce their pension costs are already available. For example, California opted for a less generous pension formulas for new workers and increased current employee pension contributions from 5 percent to 8 percent of salary. Police officers in Sacramento pay no contribution to their plans, yet have a dramatically more generous pension. Under the "3 percent at 50" formula, a police officer who worked 25 years and retired at age 50 could receive 75 percent of his final salary. And city budgets are dominated by public safety workers.

-- Paul Milkey, Sacramento

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