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Government Worker's Pensions and California's Budget Crisis

Adrian Moore
June 25, 2009, 11:41pm

So, California has this budget mess, including a $24 billion (for now) budget shortfall. there are many contributing factors to this crisis. One is state pensions.

In 2000 and 2002 changes in California state law allowed state, county and city workers to get more retirement benefits, and get them earlier. The changes dramatically increased pension benefits. Someone who worked for the government for 30 years would now get an amazing 90 percent of their salary for the rest of their life (instead of the previous 60 percent) and public safety workers were eligible to retire at a younger age. 

At the time, the economy was going well and state and local governments rushed to implement these new benefits.  Over the next six years, retirement costs for state employees increased by over 2,000 percent, and taxpayers went from footing $157 million in state pension benefits to over $2.7 billion per year.

Foxnews video on CA pensions

FoxNews has this nice video discussing the state's out of control pensions, including discussion of an outrageous list of over 5,000 former California state employees who have annual pensions OVER $100,000.

After you watch the video, read and weep here.


Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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