Brown unveils pension reform plan, GOP unhappy

April 1, 2011 12:14:41 AM PDT
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his pension reform plan to counter Republican attacks that said he was unwilling to upset employee unions for a budget deal.

"During these discussions, I proposed detailed and specific plans for pension reform, for putting a cap on state spending, and regulatory reform," said Brown.

Brown just released the details of his 12-point pension reform plan; some of which have already been introduced by Republican lawmakers. One proposal would prohibit state workers from buying down their retirement age for up to five years -- a practice known as "airtime." Another would prohibit pension spiking, using a worker's average three-year salary to determine benefits, instead of just the final year and a bill for a benefit cap is still under development.

One that seems to pertain to former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, would ban pension payments to anyone convicted of a felony related to employment. Pension reformers call it a good first step, but not enough.

"The governor's plan to solve the pension crisis by eliminating these flagrant abuses is just like his plan to solve the budget crisis by taking away bureaucrats' cell phones. It's a nice start, but it doesn't solve a $200 billion problem," said Dan Pellissier from California Pension Reform.

Brown's package comes on the same day the Californian Republican Party released an attack ad on YouTube about his inability to compromise.

Republicans earlier in the day wanted to set the record straight on why they say budget negotiations collapsed: they wanted more and the governor wouldn't go as far on reforms as they wanted.

"It became pretty obvious to me that there really wasn't a sincere desire to work out anything in a bi-partisan fashion," said St. Senator Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga.

"The Stanford Report said we're $500 billion upside down, that we need to be putting in there to take care of our retirees. The benefits are unsustainable," said St. Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar.

Public employee unions are not happy. While they are okay with some of the proposals, they say already gave back $700 million in retirement concessions last year and question when will enough be enough.

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