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Governor Continues Push for Pension Reform

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Governor Schwarzenegger brought former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown to the Capitol to discuss state worker pensions. He joined local government officials and academics for the roundtable meeting. Schwarzenegger says rising costs are affecting funds for other programs.

"Now when you increase spending in one area by 2,500-percent, what does that do? It crowds out other programs. Important programs, social programs that we all like and that are all very badly needed in this state.”

Schwarzenegger says at a minimum before he signs a budget he wants pension benefits rolled back to what they were before they were increased in 1999.   He’s already negotiated with six employee unions to control costs with new hires.
The former speaker and former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown says he saw problems with pension costs when he became a city official. But he doubts whether significant reforms can be achieved as part of budget talks.

 “I don’t think you’re going to have lots of people who are running for election stepping forward and eliminating some benefit that people care about.”

A representative of a state employee union group says pension reform should not be part of budget negotiations but instead should be worked out in the collective bargaining process. Democratic legislative leaders agree.
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