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The Pension Reform Act of 2014 is being sponsored by the Coalition for Fair and Sustainable Pensions, a group of California elected officials, organizations and citizens concerned about the rising cost of retirement benefits and who are seeking new tools to protect vital services and improve retirement security.

Initiative Proponents

Chuck Reed, Mayor of San Jose
Bill Kampe, Mayor of Pacific Grove
Pat Morris, Mayor of San Bernardino
Tom Tait, Mayor of Anaheim
Stephanie Gomes, Former Vice Mayor of Vallejo

“Skyrocketing retirement costs are crowding out funding for essential public services and pushing cities, counties and other government agencies closer to insolvency,” said Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose. “This initiative gives government leaders the flexibility to solve their pension problems so they can both provide critical services to the public and make sure that our employees and retirees are paid the benefits that they have earned.”

“In Pacific Grove, pension costs have crowded out library hours, overdue street and infrastructure maintenance, and other important services,” said Mayor Bill Kampe of Pacific Grove. “This initiative states a simple and fair principle for a retirement benefit: you’ve earned it when you’ve done the work. If you haven’t done the work, it’s still negotiable. It’s the right thing for the people, for the city, and ultimately for the employee’s retirement security. We need to fix a very broken system.”

“Exploding public pension costs have become the T-Rex of California’s state and local budgets—eating all public services and leaving behind dangerous, dark and pothole-filled streets, closed libraries, degraded parks and blighted buildings,” said Mayor Pat Morris of San Bernardino. “If we expect our government to remain solvent it is critical that California voters curb the appetite of this monster in a way that protects employees existing pension benefits while giving us the tools necessary to control the costs of the future pension benefits. If we fail to act, then many other cities and counties will soon follow my city into bankruptcy.”

“There is no denying the impact that the rising cost of public employee pensions has had on municipal budgets in our state and across the nation,” said Mayor Tom Tait of Anaheim. “The huge unfunded liabilities in our state’s pension funds pose significant risk to local governments’ ability to meet our obligations to retired employees. Cities need the proper tools to protect basic public services while ensuring the retirement security of retired employees. This proposed measure gives us those tools.”

“California desperately needs structural pension reform, but state laws, and even the retirement system itself, have held cities like Vallejo in a fiscal strait jacket,” said Former Vice Mayor of Vallejo Stephanie Gomes. “This isn’t a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, union or management issue – the pension problem in California crosses socio-political-economic boundaries. If we want healthy cities, counties, and a healthy state, ‘we the people’ must step up and fix this problem that most of our legislators in Sacramento want to avoid.”

"Preserving the current system risks fiscal disaster for public agencies. The proposed initiative would merely apply the same rules to government workers´ pensions that now govern private–sector retirement plans – which hardly constitutes an unfair burden on public workers

Forcing public coffers to continue funding unaffordable perks risks the erosion of public services, vastly higher costs to taxpayers or both. Voters understand who would benefit from maintaining the status quo – and it is not the public."

Riverside Press-Enterprise Editorial

Support Mayors´ Push for Real Pension Reform