California Public Employees to Legislators: Pension Changes Must Be Fair

October 25, 2011

Californians for Retirement Security
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
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Firefighters, Teachers, Police to Legislators: Pension Changes Must Be Fair
Pension Truth Squad to Deliver Facts Prior to Hearing

CARSON – Public employees will testify at a special legislative hearing in Carson on Wednesday that they welcome fair and thoughtful changes to assure California's public pension system stays strong.

“As long as lawmakers focus on facts, rather than political hyperbole, we are confident they will find that public employee pensions are not the problem some would like the public to believe,” says Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security. “They will learn that employee pensions make up a small fraction of state spending, and that poorly crafted fixes will cost taxpayers more in the long run. And they will find that public employees in cities and at the state level already have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by agreeing to pension concessions at the bargaining table.”

Prior to the hearing, California’s Pension Truth Squad will hold a press conference to set the record straight about attacks on their pensions. Firefighters, law enforcement officers, teachers and other public employees from across the Southland will share their stories. The Pension Truth Squad tour has appeared in 10 California cities and is sponsored by Californians for Retirement Security, which represents 1.5 million public employees and retirees. (See Advisory below).

In Los Angeles County, CalPERS pension payments generated $3 billion in economic activity last year, according to a study by the pension fund. Meanwhile, state employees have agreed over the past two years to pay more toward their pensions and to other changes that have saved California $600 million in pension costs, according to CalPERS. Overall, California public employees’ contributions to their pensions have climbed from 5 percent to 7 to up to 11 percent. At the local level, at least 200 California cities, counties and local districts, firefighters, police and other public employees have agreed to increase pension contributions and lower public costs.

Public employees also support changes to trim spending and curb abuse, if done reasonably and fairly, including tough action against pension spiking and creating pension reserve accounts for bad economic times. For more details, please see Low’s Viewpoint column in Sunday’s Sacramento Bee,

Pension Truth Squad Advisory:

WHAT: Firefighters, law enforcement officers, teachers and other public employees from across the Southland  set the record straight about attacks on their pensions
WHEN: WEDNESDAY, October 26, 2011, at 9:15 a.m.
WHERE: Carson City Hall, 701 East Carson Street in Carson, CA (At the corner of Avalon Boulevard and East Carson Street)

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