Sacramento Bee State Worker Blog: Niello abandons pension initiative

Former Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello said he will not pursue a signature-gathering campaign for his pension reform proposal because of the diminishing likelihood of a special election on taxes later this year.

"Our urgency is gone," he said. "The reason for filing this measure was to have something in line for a November election alongside the measure on taxes, but that appears unlikely to happen now."

Gov. Jerry Brown is still calling for a special election as early as September to keep in place the current rates of income, sales and vehicles taxes. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said last week he wants that election to happen next year.

Niello said he's open to introducing a new measure for one of the 2012 ballots. He said he likely would amend his proposal to have a lower retirement age for public safety workers and to tie a benefit cap to a specific dollar figure rather than a percentage of wages.

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