The State Worker

California pension ballot measure dead for now, proponents aim for 2016

The push to put a public pension measure on the November ballot is officially dead.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and his allies gave up Friday after a judge rejected Reed’s challenge to the language describing the measure for purposes of signature collection.

Despite the loss, Reed said in a statement, that “we will be targeting the 2016 election cycle for our proposed pension reform initiative.”

The measure he proposed would have given government employers, under certain circumstances. the authority to freeze accrued retirement benefits for current employees and then reduce them in the future. A body of case law says that pension benefits, once promised, can’t be cut without an offsetting benefit.

Reed and others who backed his measure say public pensions can’t be sustained at the benefit levels promised without siphoning money from crucial government services. Unions counter that the measure scapegoats government workers, that changes must be bargained and that officials such as Reed exaggerate the issue for personal political gain.

Today’s announcement came after a Sacramento Superior Court judge made final a tentative ruling on Reed’s lawsuit.

“I am disappointed that the Court declined to correct the inaccurate and misleading summary produced by the Attorney General.,” Reed said.