California Voters Slash Public Pensions

Public worker unions battled measures
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 6, 2012 5:55 AM CDT
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed high fives former San Jose Vice Mayor Pat Dando as they arrive at a campaign party in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, June 5, 2012.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – It's been a rough week for public workers. Following Scott Walker's survival as Wisconsin governor, two major California cities have easily approved cuts to city employees' pensions. Some 66% of San Diego voters approved such a measure, with 34% against it; in San Jose, 70% backed the plan, compared to 30% opposed, the AP reports. San Jose's mayor, a Democrat, applauded the results. "The voters get it, they understand what needs to be done," he said.

Backers had blamed expensive pensions for preventing the cities from taking care of other needs, such as improving roads and opening libraries; they also noted that current pension plans beat out those offered by many private firms. Retirement fund payments are equal to 20% of San Diego's daily operating funds, and 27% of San Jose's. But a union leader slams the move in the New York Times: "This initiative doesn't save anything,” he tells the paper. "You are basically cutting off your nose to spite your face for pension reform."

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