The state’s pension share went from $160 million in 2000 to an estimated $2.6 billion in 2005. In California in 2006 there was about $5 billion in expenditures taken directly out of operating budgets to help pay for retirement healthcare for public employees, said Steven Frates of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. “By 2019 we expect that number to reach $30 billion,” he said. “That’s more money than the state spends on public safety.” . . . Some governments are thinking about cutting back retiree benefits to help balance the growing debt. Another solution would be for unions like CalPERS to think about making the transition to contribution based benefits packages, such as 401K. That is what most businesses in the private sector offer. . . . Until then the debt can only be covered by selling government property, cutting services — which has already begun — and raising taxes.
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