Gov. Jerry Brown Details Unacceptable Assault on Current and Future Public Employees

February 2, 2012

For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Californians for Retirement Security

Gov. Jerry Brown Details Unacceptable Assault on Current and Future Public Employees

A statement from Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition representing more than 1.5 million public employees and retirees, regarding the details from the governor’s pension proposals:

“Governor Brown’s pension proposals amount to an unprecedented and unacceptable assault on current and future California teachers, firefighters, peace officers, school employees, and other public employees. They abrogate the very collective bargaining laws he first enacted, attempt to violate Constitutional rights of current workers, severely harm middle-class and low-wage workers and will force workers in back-breaking manual labor jobs to work 30 to 40 years, until age 67, only to receive 50 percent less in secure defined benefits.
Nonpartisan analyses already have found these sloppy proposals won't yield the savings promised and are full of major legal and constitutional minefields. Research from the University of California, Berkeley, released today, concludes that forcing public employees in California into risky retirement plans like the one the governor proposes will disproportionately harm low and middle-income workers – further crumbling California’s middle class.
We implore the Legislature to reject the Governor's attempts to subvert the collective bargaining process entirely by locking these ill-considered proposals into our state’s Constitution. We urge the Legislature to consider facts instead of Republican-created political rhetoric when examining retirement safety for California workers.

Pensions make up a tiny fraction of the state budget, less than 3 percent, and public employees who already pay up to 12 percent of their salaries into their own retirement plans have made hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions to help save taxpayers’ money. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst has determined that two proposed ballot measures that contain some of the same proposals outlined by the governor would cost taxpayers at least $1 billion a year for the next three decades. Meanwhile, pension costs are one of the smallest growing costs in all of state government while recently approved tax breaks for corporations are costing taxpayers a billion dollars a year.
Governor Brown and the Legislature should focus on meaningful, legal, and fair pension changes.  We will continue to support them in that endeavor. But we will use everything at our disposal to fight any attempts to rescind collective bargaining rights or break promises to this state’s middle class working families.”

Californians for Retirement Security represents 1.5 million public employees and retirees. Its executive committee includes: California School Employees Association; California Federation of Teachers; California Professional Firefighters; California Faculty Association; California Teachers Association; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Orange County Employees Association; Peace Officers Research Association of California; Retired Public Employees Association of California; SEIU California; SEIU Local 1000; California Association of Professional Scientists; Professional Engineers in California Government; Glendale City Employees Association; Organization of SMUD Employees; San Bernardino Public Employees Association; San Luis Obispo County Employees Association; Santa Rosa City Employees Association; Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs; Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, State of California; Long Beach Police Officers Association; Los Angeles County Professional Police Officers Association; Sacramento Deputy Sheriffs Association; Santa Ana Police Officers Political Action Committee

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