California Professional Firefighters

Failed Ex-Pols Launch New Broadside Against Retirement Security

Despite an embarrassing failure in their first attempt, two ex-politicians are doubling down in their assault on retirement security for firefighters, teachers, nurses and other public workers.

Two new ballot proposals – filed this week – would effectively end secure retirement for new public workers and bleed away the foundation of retirement security for all workers – current and future. Like their predecessor, the new measures spilled out of the poisoned pens of two unemployed politicians – former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego councilman Carl DeMaio.

  • The “Voter Empowerment Act”: A trimmed-down version of the retirement-gutting measure introduced earlier this year. This version ends secure pensions for new employees, bans any retirement benefit hikes without a public vote and restricts employer costs. It also continues the threat to death and disability benefits by undermining the secure pension system that supports them.
  • The “Government Pension Cap Act”: Limits employer contributions, putting the burden of keeping the system solvent squarely on the backs of employees.

"It's clear that the proponents of eliminating retirement security for teachers, firefighters, school employees and other public servants are more interested in playing politics and rewarding Wall Street than providing the retirement security all Californians deserve," said Dave Low, chair of Californians for Retirement Security, a CPF-backed coalition of pro-retirement organizations.

Reed and DeMaio say their new proposals are aimed at circumventing the gaping flaws in their first attempt at gutting retirement. The original "Voter Empowerment Act" took aim at the pension promises made to existing workers and was projected to have uncertain, potentially catastrophic costs. While attempting to aim primarily at new workers, the new measures carry the same cost risks. They also put at risk the pension system that supports death and disability benefits for firefighters and other public workers.

"Their new proposals would ultimately do what their previous failed attempts would have done: create billions of dollars in costs for the state's pension systems, jeopardize the ability to attract and retain teachers, police officers and other public employees and jeopardize a secure retirement for hard-working, middle class families," said Low.

CLICK HERE to read a report from the Sacramento Bee.