The citizens of California are angry about public pension abuse and largesse. How else can you interpret the overwhelming votes for pension reform in San Diego and San Jose?
In October of last year, Gov. Jerry Brown provided a roadmap for state pension reform that was fair for state employees and for California Taxpayers. The Chamber immediately endorsed the plan. But as the clock runs out on the 2012 legislative session in Sacramento, the State Senate and State Assembly have yet to respond.
In February of this year, in a show of bipartisanship, the Republican Leadership of the legislature introduced bills in both houses to push forward Gov. Brown's plan. The Republicans did not alter the proposal at all and introduced it exactly as it was written by the Democratic administration.
Gov. Brown's desire to act on this urgent issue did not stimulate a similar response from his colleagues in the Legislature. Instead, they have been listening to public employee unions who have a strong self interest in the status quo. As a result, the state is headed for the same fiscal cliff that generated anger in San Diego and San Jose.
California's pension liability is growing every year and is estimated to be as high as $500 billion dollars, whichaccording to the Los Angeles Times translates to $30,500 for every household in the state. As this obligation rises, it forces more cuts to education, social services, public safety and other critical state responsibilities. Death by a thousand cuts will be the result for many of the services that citizens care about the most.
It is past time for the leadership of the Assembly and Senate to join the governor and the Republicans in reforming our unsustainable public pension system and focus precious state resources on education and the other services that Californians need. Current and future generations are being woefully underserved because of the diversion of their taxes to the current pension system.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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