Posts Tagged ‘pension reform’
SDCTA Breakfast Panel: The Future of Pension Reform: What’s Next?
|Date:||Thursday, March 14, 2013|
|Time:||7:00 AM – 9:00 AM|
Organizer: San Diego County Taxpayers Association
Sponsor: REFORM San Diego
Carl DeMaio – Founder and Chairman of Reform San Diego
Hon. Jan Goldsmith – San Diego City Attorney
Tim Davis – Partner at Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP
If you are worried about California’s future, there’s no shortage of disturbing statistics to keep you up at night. California’s unemployment rate was 9.8 percent in November – and, with a host of new regulatory mandates added when the New Year began, our state is becoming even more unattractive for businesses.
California’s three largest pension funds have promised $500 billion in retirement benefits that they don’t have the money to pay for. California’s cities have another $135 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, and a couple of municipalities have already filed for bankruptcy.
San Diego – Former Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio announced today that he will continue his work as a government watchdog by heading up two reform groups – one focused on the State of California, and one focused on the City of San Diego.
“I’m excited to take on these two new roles that allow me to continue to shine a big light on state and local government and hold both accountable to taxpayers,” DeMaio said.
San Diegans voted for Comprehensive Pension Reform to fix the pension problem now. In fact, much of the City of San Diego’s financial turnaround over the past few years is attributable to local leaders taking the bull by the horns and not putting off difficult choices to future generations.
Today, Kevin Faulconer continued to speak out against a plan that would postpone the City’s full pension payments and run up its pension debt by $335 million. Faulconer appeared on the Rodger Hedgecock Show to reiterate that issuing so-called pension obligation bonds — an idea most recently floated by mayoral candidate Bob Filner — is unnecessary and a step in the wrong direction. A recent analysis released by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association revealed this risky maneuver would cost millions of dollars that could otherwise be invested in San Diego neighborhoods.
I was pleased to announce yesterday that we have built a coalition on the City Council willing to work together to get results for San Diegans through the full and complete implementation of pension reform.
While we have come together as a team to get results, Bob Filner is poised to negotiate away or outright invalidate the pension reforms in this citizens’ initiative.
See the news story below for more information.
I have GREAT news to share!
Moments ago Judge Vargas DENIED the government labor unions’ legal challenge to Prop B – Pension Reform.
The court has rejected a “Restraining Order” that would have prevented the Mayor and City Council from proceeding forward with Prop B.
Here’s the brief statement I released upon hearing the news:
“Today San Diego citizens scored a big win for Pension Reform! Judge Vargas’ decision clears the way for the City to respect the mandate of 66% of San Diego voters who approved Prop B’s pension reforms.
Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio held a rally with a crowd of dozens of Pension Reform supporters in front of US Bankruptcy Court to send a clear message: San Diegans have spoken by voting for Pension Reform.
The rally comes on the eve of an important court hearing on a lawsuit brought by government employee unions seeking to invalidate the results of the public vote to approve Prop B.
I have an update on my efforts to reform the pensions at City Hall – and want to alert you of a few potential roadblocks we must confront.
As you know, pension reform is my top priority because every dollar we save from pension reform can be put back into restoring the neighborhood services we’ve lost in the past decade.
In the June election, San Diego voters overwhelmingly approved the pension reform solution that Mayor Sanders and I devised and collaborated on with a coalition of civic groups. Our Prop B carried 66% of the votes – winning every single City Council District and winning Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
In the 2010 San Diego City Council race, and in previous mayoral campaigns, the idea of bankruptcy for San Diego has been proffered. However, neither Vallejo, which survived bankruptcy, nor Stockton, now going through bankruptcy have demonstrated that public employee pensions can be discharged in bankruptcy court, at least in California. In California, after the Vallejo experience, the state passed laws requiring that cities contemplating bankruptcy enter into a mediation process. This requires that the city negotiate in good faith with creditors prior to entering bankruptcy proceedings. One group for whom there is no negotiation are the labor unions pensions. From Reuters:
Will of the Voters Must Be Respected and Prop B Implemented
Prop B, the Pension Reform ballot measure not only passed resoundingly with 66% of the total vote, it also carried each of the nine San Diego Council districts.
The overwhelming victory comes as no surprise to the thousands of volunteers who worked tirelessly in every community collecting signatures to qualify the measure and who volunteered for the campaign.
Volunteers talked to Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are tired of their roads falling apart and closed libraries and were ready for reform.
San Diego’s vote on Proposition B is reverberating across California and the country, creating national headlines. Kevin Faulconer, co-author of the Comprehensive Pension Reform citizens initiative, took to the airwaves to talk about the overwhelming approval of the measure, and how San Diego is setting a blueprint for reform for local governments throughout the nation. Watch the clip here.
“San Diegans expect results. We must implement Prop B without delay.”
That was the message City leaders delivered today following the landslide approval of Proposition B at the ballot box Tuesday. More than 66 percent of voters endorsed the measure, otherwise known as Comprehensive Pension Reform, to eliminate traditional pensions for new employees and replace them with a 401(k)-style plan, similar to the private sector. The measure also ends pension spiking and directs the Mayor to seek a 5-year cap on pensionable compensation.
. . . anyone but themselves. I’m not going to waste time searching out all of the left wing excuses for yesterday’s taxpayer victories in Wisconsin, San Diego and San Jose. The tried and true playbook will be to turn to the courts to defeat the will of the voters in the California elections and to blame money and a bad message in Wisconsin. I watched the President of the San Diego firefighters union, Frank De Clercq, on KUSI on election night telling the voters that he would be heading to court to thwart their will. His basic argument is that the taxpayers were only allowed to change his benefits through negotiation. My answer is, tough, your unions have helped elect patsies who have promised pension benefits that were unaffordable. Those promises were made on my behalf, but not in my best interests as a taxpayer. For me this is personal, to De Clercq and Michael Zucchet, my message is that you were work for us, we don’t work for you. As your employer we should have the absolute right to change the conditions of employment when economic circumstances require. There is no inherent right of government employees to be allowed to bargain for wages and benefits. As I have pointed out before:
Well, depending on your horse(s), you were either drinking victory punch (Go Walker!) or suicide smoothies well into the night.
I joined in the Golden Hall festivities via the scrappy San Diego CityBeat live election night blog hosted by our very own San Diego Rostra and our lefty friends at OBRag. If you didn’t follow along with our 100 or so friends last night, including some elected officials and candidates, it’s worth a peek.
As results crawled in at a frustrating glacial pace, CityBeat editor David Rolland said the polling basically called the elections.
Smart governing decisions saving taxpayer dollars and collaborative initiatives took top honors, while cavalier attitudes and lost opportunities were called out and shamed at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA)’s 17th annual Goldens Awards Dinner, held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley.
Remote controls were nowhere in sight as the evening’s theme “Taxpayer TV: We Can’t Make This $#!% Up!” entertained the appreciative audience who shared the details of the exclusive video parodies highlighting the program via social media. As in past programs, elected officials, members of the news media and other public figures willingly humiliated themselves in a good-natured send-up of the year in government news and achievements in San Diego.
Just in time could be my life’s mantra. I am reminded by Thor’s Assistant that no Official Drinking Game has been devised for tonight’s epic 17th annual San Diego County Taxpayers Golden Fleece and Watchdog Awards.
Calling Ms. Tipit to the rescue.
DISCLAIMER: In this litigious, risk-averse society, we must pause here to admonish anyone reading this column that it is strictly for entertainment purposes ONLY. Please drink responsibly if at all. Please do not be a dunderhead and drink and tweet/post/drive, or you will be the next person we write about on Rostra and it won’t be pretty.
Earlier I issued the following statement in response to the release of Congressman Bob Filner’s proposal to borrow more money to keep unsustainable city employee pensions in place without reform:
Paying One Credit Card With Another
Bob Filner’s plan involves debt to pay debt. Filner’s use of Pension Obligation Bonds is not reform and simply kicks the can down the road. Filner is merely taking a page from the failed approach of previous City Hall politicians who opted to keep unsustainable pension benefits in place for city employees while passing higher levels of debt on to our children.
As a matter of fact, if there was some real pension reform, there wouldn’t be any need for tax increases. California is drowning under the burden of employee pension costs. Even the modest reforms offered by Jerry Brown are making no progress in the
Democrat union controlled legislature. A couple of key parts of his proposal:
- Equal sharing of pension costs: Require all new and current employees to contribute at least 50 percent of their retirement costs, shifting the burden from public employers, some of whom currently make the entire contribution.
I’m excited to share with your our first TV ad! It’s called “Uniting for Reform” and it focuses on our positive vision for ending the dysfunction at City Hall that has led to slashed services and decaying infrastructure in recent years.
Here’s the full ad:
Please help us get our message to as many voters as possible! We expect to be outspent by the unions powerful downtown special intersts. They have already opened an “Independent Expenditure” committee to attack our movement.
I Appeared on Fox News Channel to discuss the importance of pension reform and the national importance of passing Proposition B.
In case you missed it, Kevin Faulconer appeared on Fox News Channel this week to talk about San Diego’s Comprehensive Pension Reform citizen’s initiative, the fight to put it on the ballot and the millions of dollars in savings it can bring to taxpayers.
The reform measure, which will appear on the June ballot, comes at a time when cities across the country are grappling with unsustainable pension payments and looking for solutions like this .
Watch the video here.
That seems to be the position taken in a lawsuit filed by the Municipal Employees Association of San Diego. From the U-T:
The Municipal Employees Association, San Diego’s largest public employee union representing white-collar workers, has accused Mayor Jerry Sanders of violating state labor laws by refusing to negotiate the elements in the initiative while at the same time using the power of his public office to generate public support for it.
If successful, the complaint, filed last week with the state Public Employment Relations Board, could prevent the initiative from appearing on the ballot and essentially nullifies the nearly 116,000 signatures collected to trigger a public vote.
Interesting day in the mayoral race. Both Nathan Fletcher and Carl DeMaio rolled out significant endorsements that say a lot about their priorities and what to expect from their prospective administrations.
Nathan Fletcher and the Lifeguard Union
Fletcher announced the endorsement of the Lifeguards union and released a “Clean Water and Safe Beaches Plan.” Fletcher is clearly continuing to advance his narrative as a moderate, highlighting the environment, public safety and education.
My day job has become very challenging lately, and may continue to cause light blogging. When I have little time, it concentrates my mind on what is both important and within my sphere of influence. For example, I love following Presidential politics, but as a Californian I am going to have little influence on neither the Republican nominating process nor the electoral vote totals. Here are my priorities for this year and how I am feeling.
- 1. Defeating Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed tax increases; highly confident. Getting his execrable budget killed; not so much.
A few days ago, I read Richard Rider’s detailed post about how truly awful the California tax burden is. A quick refresher.
California has the 3rd worst state income tax in the nation. 9.3% tax bracket starts at $46,766 for people filing as individuals. 10.3%
tax starts at $1,000,000 http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/bp59_es.pdf (election likely later this year to again raise these rates)
Highest state sales tax rate in the nation. 7.25% (as of 1 July). 7% is next highest (does not include local sales taxes) http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/bp60.pdf Table #15.