This morning I announced my full support for the Comprehensive Pension Reform initiative which will appear on the June ballot next year. I was pleased to sign the petition to place the initiative on the ballot, and I encourage every voter in the City of San Diego to do the same.
I’m very proud to stand with Mayor Sanders, City Councilman Kevin Faulconer and many others in support of this initiative. They worked very hard, along with the Lincoln Club and the Taxpayers Association to hammer out these reforms. It’s a testament to their vision and their ability to build consensus that pension reform is on its way to the voters for their approval.
I’ve been very clear that I have supported the vast majority of the proposed ballot initiative on pension reform. At the same time, I had real concerns that some first responders would no longer receive a benefit they can count on. For that reason, I could not fully support the measure.
I continue to believe, like a lot of people, that public safety employees deserve a safety net due to the unique nature of their work to protect each of us. As we’ve seen recently, they put their lives on the line on a daily basis. And sometimes they don’t come home.
After continuing to review the pension initiative and researching the options, I’ve determined that such a safety net is possible…with no additional cost to the taxpayer.
In addition to my support today for the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative, I am also supporting the option of an annuity, which would come during the implementation phase of reform.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve been meeting with a variety of pension experts and stakeholders to ensure the city can legally craft an annuity option, something that is permitted in Section 150 of the proposed ballot initiative.
This annuity option would provide a fair benefit for first responders who enroll in the program, but costs taxpayers nothing more than what’s already provided for in the initiative. The projected savings from the reform initiative would also not be affected.
Annuities are commonly used by business in the private sector. Under this option, the funds deposited into an employee’s defined contribution pension account may be used to purchase an annuity—shifting the risk to the provider of the annuity and offering employees a guaranteed minimum benefit.
Workers could choose to put more of their own money into the annuity if they want to raise the level of their pension benefit, but with no additional cost to the city.
When the initiative passes — and I believe it will — we’re going to need a Mayor who has the leadership experience to make sure the reforms are implemented.
As Mayor of San Diego, voters will decide — and I will deliver.
I’ll take pension reform from plan to reality because it is a critical component of my vision to restore our city’s financial health.
We need real reform, with real savings, that’s really going to stick.
Our city can’t afford for pension reform to be derailed by city hall special interests or political infighting. It takes a committed leader to ensure those obstacles don’t impede its success.
That’s the kind of experience and leadership I will bring to the mayor’s office, along with “fair and real” pension reform to the City of San Diego.