Monday, September 3, 2012

California's Willie Brown on Pension Reform

Willie Brown is a distinguished, career California Democrat.  He was California's longest-serving Assembly Speaker, never to matched due to California's Legislative term limits.  He was also former Mayor of San Francisco.  The California Legislature recently passed a long-overdue pension reform bill that is a small, but necessary, step in the right direction.  Even with the pension reform legislation, California's public pensions are underfunded by tens of billions of dollars.  California taxpayers are on the hook to make up the difference.

Willie Brown has been open and blunt about the Legislature's role in California's poor condition.  Here's his latest his column in the San Francisco Chronicle.  Scroll down as there are multiple topic in his column.
"As reforms go, the pension deal that Sacramento lawmakers reached last week is just a start to correct the mistakes that former lawmakers, including me, have made over the years. 
"But for all the talk about how the changes were needed to make the governor's tax plan [Proposition 30] more palatable to voters this fall, the fact is that lawmakers bucked the unions for one reason and one reason only: They want to keep their jobs.
"The unions are really bent out of shape because they weren't allowed in the room during the negotiations, as they usually are. But why should they be in the room?
"The world is changing. Years ago it was the likes of Southern Pacific and other big businesses calling the shots in Sacramento, and we were all highly critical of them.
"These days it's labor. That's not the portrayal union leaders like to see in the media, but it's the truth. 
"Real reform would be barring labor leaders from sitting on state pension boards. The boards ought to be made up of money managers who are concerned with how much cash is going in and out of the fund. There is no justification for any trustee on a pension board being more interested in spreading benefits than paying for them."

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