Rethink Pensions for Current Government Workers

From The Riverside Press-Enterprise:

Taxpayers have no desire to let untouchable pensions crowd out public services. Legislators — or voters — need to give local governments the flexibility to adjust current workers’ retirement payouts. Otherwise, cities and counties will face relentlessly rising costs that threaten to undermine crucial local responsibilities.

Riverside County’s experience illustrates the challenges current pension rules present for local governments. A budget report this week projects a $39 million deficit in the sheriff’s $554 million budget by the end of this fiscal year. The county says that part of the shortfall stems from the costs of the state’s realignment program, which shifted so-called “low-risk” felons and parolees from state oversight to county control. And supervisors also agreed to increase police patrols in unincorporated areas, at higher expense. But a significant share of the red ink stems from pension reforms the county enacted last year, which required employees to pay more toward their own retirements.

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