The State Worker with Jon Ortiz blog logo

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Study rates public pension overhauls in other states

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 - 10:52 am
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 - 11:34 am

Public pension-change efforts in states that have rolled back benefits share some common characteristics, according to a paper issued today by the influential Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

“Pension Politics” by Drew University political science and education professor Patrick McGuinn, reviews recent public pension overhauls in Utah, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Illinois and highlights what worked and what didn’t and why. Among the winning strategies: having “a credible and visible reform champion” and selling “the benefits of pension reform to state workers” and “school reformers.”

That made us think of what’s going on in California. The latest push for a pension initiative here has a face, Democratic San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, leading the latest charge for a plan he says will save public pension systems and preserve money for crucial state and local services. He sought support from unions, which accused him of posturing instead of seriously seeking their counsel. It looks like the measure won’t be on the November ballot since Reed is losing time to collect qualifying signatures while he sues the state over summary language assigned to his measure.

Here’s the McGuinn study:

Pension Politics

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


The State Worker Archives

Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by
Quick Job Search
Sacramento Bee Jobs »
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads


Price Range:
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older