Politics & Government

The Buzz: California state worker retirements decline in 2013

Fewer state workers took their pensions in 2013

The number of retiring California state workers has fallen to its lowest level in four years, a byproduct of the state’s brightening budget picture and new contracts that give longtime employees a reason to stick around.

New CalPERS data show that about 10,000 employees filed retirement applications in 2013, down 13 percent from the record 11,500 state workers who took their pensions in 2010. Last year, about 10,600 state civil servants retired.

Experts attributed the 2010 spike to furloughs, bitter contract battles with then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and talk at the time of reducing pensions for current employees.

Many of those tensions have eased during the Brown administration. The state budget is in better shape, furloughs ended in June and a pension law that took effect this year left benefits untouched for established employees (although a ballot proposal that could reduce pensions for all workers recently surfaced).

Several unions also bargained new contracts with Gov. Jerry Brown that provide deferred pay raises that would factor into state employees’ retirement packages – if they work long enough.

– Jon Ortiz

BY THE NUMBERS

Enrollment in California public schools is projected to grow by 0.7 percent over the next decade, to 6,264,620 students, according to a recent report by the California Department of Finance. The report projects that Riverside County will add almost 71,000 students by 2022-23, the most in the state, while Los Angeles County will lose 127,000. The projected growth rate of Kern County’s student body is 17.1 percent, highest in the state. The report projects that tiny Alpine County’s enrollment will drop by about one-quarter.

– Jim Miller

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