Pension initiative cuts benefits, voters can alter

An initiative filed last week would cut pensions for new state and local government hires, but allow local voters to lift the cap.

The initiative sponsors said they will poll voters to see if the pension cuts imposed by the initiative, filed in two versions, should be altered by a majority or a two-thirds vote.

The local option emerged from meetings with groups of city managers in Los Angeles and San Diego counties, said Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility.

“You can change anything, but you have to have voter approval,” Fritz said. “It’s getting back to square one and getting the voters involved … that removes those closed-door sessions.”

Pension benefits are typically set in labor contract negotiations with public employee unions.

In recent years San Diego and Orange Counties, both hit by increasing pension costs, passed measures that require voters to approve pension benefit increases. San Francisco has a similar century-old requirement.

Local officials want to be able to raise benefits, if need be, to recruit and retain valuable employees. But competition among local governments is said by some to escalate pension benefits.

The initiative aimed at the November ballot next year would make major pension cuts and extend retirement dates for persons hired after June 30, 2011, by the state, cities, counties, school districts, universities and special districts.

“The current system could result in billions of dollars in new taxes to meet the retirement obligations for public employees,” says the initiative. “Many local governments may be threatened with bankruptcy if no change is made.”

The issue of whether the current level of public pension benefits are “sustainable” has been growing, fueled by an historic stock market crash last fall that is expected to force increases in annual government pension payments to replenish retirement funds.

Critics point to a round of benefit increases that began a decade ago when the stock market was booming. Investment earnings, which have been providing 75 percent of the revenue of some pension systems, were expected to pay for the new benefits.

One of the increases allows many police and firefighters to retire at age 50 with 3 percent of their final salary for each year served. The initiative gives new police and firefighters 2.3 percent at age 58.

Many miscellaneous workers can now retire at 55 with 2.5 percent of pay for each year served. The initiative formula is 1.25 percent at age 67 for workers also receiving Social Security, and 1.65 percent if they do not receive Social Security.

Fritz said the basic concept is to make the pensions a “floor” for retirement, supplemented by Social Security and individual investment accounts. Workers could still take early retirement, but their pensions would be reduced.

“I think we are ahead of the world with the policy of working longer,” said Fritz, referring to longer life expectancy. “I think it’s inevitable. I think entire countries are going to go to this — France, Germany.”

Fritz said cutting retirement costs also can “motivate production” by making money available for bonuses and salary increases. She said a recent pension proposal in Southern California would have created a pool of money to reward increased production

The founder of the group now led by Fritz, former Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge, proposed a plan in 2005 to switch all new state and local government hires to 401(k)-style individual investment plans.

Public employee unions said the proposal would eliminate disability and survivor benefits. A hard-hitting television ad campaign helped cause Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to drop his support for the measure.

The Richman group, which said the charge was bogus and even if true easily correctable, is taking no chances this time. The new initiative says death and disability benefits would not be eliminated.

The tax-deferred 401(k) investment plan is now widespread in the private sector, where pensions are rapidly disappearing. The “defined contribution” plans give employers a simple annual payment, creating no decades-long debt for pensions.

But for employees the stock market crash last fall dramatized that 401(k) plans were originally intended to be a supplement, not a basic retirement plan. Persons nearing retirement have little time to rebuild their investment funds.

Fritz, a former 401(k) advocate, now thinks that “defined benefit” pension plans, with their monthly payments guaranteed for life, are a low-cost and efficient way to provide public employee retirement benefits, if properly designed.

“We have a very good system for defined benefit administration and investing already set up,” she said. “I don’t think we should throw it away.”

The foundation led by Fritz filed a similar initiative two years ago, but was unable to gather the voter signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot.

Fritz is looking into whether signatures can be gathered via the Internet. In her last conversation with the secretary of state’s office, she was told that each page of a downloaded petition may have to be signed.

The foundation also plans to seek support from Schwarzenegger and financial backing from two wealthy Republican candidates for governor, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner.

“I honestly think this is going to be a divisive issue for the governor’s race,” said Fritz.

She said many local government retirement systems will face crash-driven increases in their pension costs next year. The 1,500 local systems in the giant Public Employees Retirement System do not face increases until 2011.

CalPERS has already “smoothed” the local government increases, pushing some costs into the future. No decision has been made about pension costs next year for the state, which faces another massive budget deficit.

Public employee unions are expected to mount a well-funded opposition campaign if the initiative is placed on the ballot.

In a preliminary briefing last week, the board of the California State Teachers Retirement System was told that the initiative would cut the pension of a teacher retiring at age 62 by more than half.

It should be called “The Pension Destruction Act,” said one board member. “The Teacher Poverty Act,” said another.

“There is no question there is a problem,” said Fritz, “and we have a solution. If they stop our solution, then they are the ones that have to be accountable.”

Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at https://calpensions.com/ Posted 10 Nov 09

73 Responses to “Pension initiative cuts benefits, voters can alter”

  1. scott pace Says:

    Police officers can retire at 3% at 50, and they want to reduce it to 2.3 % at 58?? State service used to attract people due to retirement benefits. Salaries always lagged behind local agencies (in my case with state parks about 25-30% less) and that is why the legislature tried to keep up the retirement benefits to a competetive level. Vacancies have run about 35% and with the reduced benefit level they will find it even harder to fill vacant positions.

  2. Hal Weber Says:

    This initiative is LONG overdue. Here in Glendale, California, the behind-closed-doors labor contract negotiations with public employee unions have resulted in our city council members, who routinely accept thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from these same employee associations, to raise, raise and raise again the salaries, pensions and other retirement benefits to unreasonable levels.

  3. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    “The system” needs to be changed. That’s agreed upon. But your targeting the wrong group. The “big fish” are on Wall Street with their million dollar bonuses because they are “the best” and the wasteful spending from the Moron at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Add to that my own state (Calif) legislatures packing on the pork to an upcoming water bond initiative and you find the real corruption that fuels our rage. You get the point?
    To target public employees pensions may feel good now, but it does not solve the real problems. I am just as mad as anyone when it comes to paying more in taxes for any benefits including the ones mentioned above.

  4. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Quoting …” scott pace Says:
    November 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Police officers can retire at 3% at 50, and they want to reduce it to 2.3 % at 58?? State service used to attract people due to retirement benefits. Salaries always lagged behind local agencies (in my case with state parks about 25-30% less) and that is why the legislature tried to keep up the retirement benefits to a competetive level. Vacancies have run about 35% and with the reduced benefit level they will find it even harder to fill vacant positions.”

    Hogwash !. If vacancies are at 35%, its certainly NOT because of a lack of takers.

  5. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Quoting …” Mad Taxpayer Says:
    November 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    “The system” needs to be changed. That’s agreed upon. But your targeting the wrong group. The “big fish” are on Wall Street with their million dollar bonuses because they are “the best” and the wasteful spending from the Moron at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Add to that my own state (Calif) legislatures packing on the pork to an upcoming water bond initiative and you find the real corruption that fuels our rage. You get the point?
    To target public employees pensions may feel good now, but it does not solve the real problems. I am just as mad as anyone when it comes to paying more in taxes for any benefits including the ones mentioned above.”

    Wrong ! “Targeting public employees” is the ONLY way to solve the problem.

    Yes, corporate management is Greedy also, but 1000 CEOs taking $5 Million each won’t bankrupt us, but $1 Million Civil Servants each taking $1/2 – $3 Million MORE than they deserve (compared to what similarly situated Private Sectore workers get) WILL certainly bankrupt us !

  6. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Quoting from the article ” In a preliminary briefing last week, the board of the California State Teachers Retirement System was told that the initiative would cut the pension of a teacher retiring at age 62 by more than half.

    It should be called “The Pension Destruction Act,” said one board member. “The Teacher Poverty Act,” said another.”

    Nonsense ….. its just eliminating the 50% they never deserved !

  7. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    I guess we will just have to hope that TOUGH lOVE never needs a cop or a fireman. And if he does, the one responding is not 58 years old and unable to protect him or a young firefighter who could care less because he will only see 60% of his income upon retirement. It’s a safe bet that the quality of service (in police and fire) will drop dramatically without a competitive form of compensation for retirements and other benefits.

    After all these people don’t “deserve” these benefits do they?. They work the holidays that the”private sector” routinely enjoys. They work odd hours and are available for service 24/7. They are away from their families and sometimes do not return home. And “bonuses”, they are non existent, unlike the “private sector” who believe their bonuses are for being “the best”. Now there’s your HOGWASH . If they were “the best” then why are we in this mess? (A whole new blog I am sure)

    But the good news for you is that although these individuals may receive what appears to be “lucrative” retirement packages, they, on average do not collect them very long. I have not seen any commentary on actual collection rates. The big surprise here may very well be what these retirements DO NOT COST.

  8. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Quoting from Mad Taxpayer …”It’s a safe bet that the quality of service (in police and fire) will drop dramatically without a competitive form of compensation for retirements and other benefits.”

    Competitive to WHAT ? Police salaries are well over average Private Sector salaries, and their Retirement packages are 4-6 times greater than a Private sector worker retiring at the SAME age, with the SAME pay, and with the SAME # years of service.

    And you think this is fair (to Taxpayers who for the vast majority of these benefits) ?

  9. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Here is the “10 Commandments” list from the CCFR iniative … (each followed by my observations in CAPITAL letters):

    – Honor all pension contracts….UNLESS CLEARLY UNSUSTAINABLE (AT A FAIR TAX LEVEL). IF NOT, REDUCE BENEFIT LEVELS TO THAT WHICH IS FAIR & SUSTAINABLE
    – Death and disability benefits shall not be changed. BUT TAX-PREFERENCED DISABILITY PENSIONS REQUIRE MEETING SOCIAL SECURITY’S DEFINITION OF DISABILITY
    – Pension benefits must be fair (TO TAXPAYERS AS WELL AS PARTICIPANTS) and adequate AS MEASURED AGAINST WHAT SIMILARLY SITUATED PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS GET
    – Pension benefits must be guaranteed TO THE EXTENT PRIVATE SECTOR PENSIONS ARE GUARANTEED
    – Pension spiking abuse must be discouraged. NO. THEY MUST IMMEDIATELY END.
    – Future generations should not pay retirement costs for today’s workers. GOOD !
    – Retiree health funds (WHAT FUNDS ? THERE CURRENTLY AREN’T ANY.) must not be diverted to any other purpose
    – Retirement benefit costs must be sustainable AND IF NOT, BENEFITS MUST BE REDUCED TO THE LEVEL FUNDABLE BY CURRENT TAX RATES.
    – Local agency voters shall retain the right to change benefits AS LONG AS NOT VIOLATING ANY OF THE ABOVE.
    – Bankruptcies must be avoided. BANKRUPTCY SHOULD BE EMPLOYED WHEN PARTICIPANTS/UNIONS REFUSE TO LOWER UNSUSTAINABLE BENEFITS TO A LEVEL THAT IS SUSTAINABLE AT TAX RATES FAIR TO PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS

  10. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    I’m thinking it boils down to this. (And I am showing my true colors here. Yes I am one of those evil public employees, but I am also a Mad Taxpayer as well.)

    In the “private sector” (which you seem to be a proponent of) you have all the holidays, nights and weekends and other days off. All with your family. Out of three kids I figure I have missed about 27 birthdays and numerous special events (school, sports ect..). But not you mister “private sector”, you were there for all of your kids stuff weren’t you?
    Your company expense account, seminars out of town, team building trips to the mountains to play paint ball, personal phone bills and other perks, all neat and bitchin things, all paid for by your employer, All things that we do not get in public service.
    Bonuses- don’t even get me started on these. Never seen one, never will. Enjoy yours. Take the family to Maui.
    So my point is this. All this neat and bitchin stuff previously mentioned you get now, during your career. And over the course of said career it can amount to a substantial amount of money. Right?
    So because I have chose to enjoy a benefit that I paid for at the end of my career and most likely will not be able to collect all of this benefit, this puts a bug in your ass? Help me understand this logic.

  11. G money Says:

    Tough Love you are arguing with the wrong people. The City Councils in our state could have said “No” to 3%@50, “No” to competitive salaries during the dot.com era when broom pushers in Silicon Valley were getting rich on stock options. You should alos realize that many cities require the employees to pay their portion of the retirement. When you say taxpayers, you mean that you don’t want City government wokers to have fair pensions. The average PERS Retiree receives less than 40K. Is that too much? I think everyone is offended by the senior administrators retiring with big salaries. They are the exception not the rule. Most of us receive a fair pension So, go to the police academy or shut the hell up.

  12. R Morrison Says:

    So what, the pension is just part of the compensation. If you do not want to pay it, then do not pay it. Just be prepared to pay a lot more in
    Salaries. It that simple……. Just because the Meg Whitmans of the world have convienced the average working stiff that unions, pensions, good health benifits and like are some how bad, does not mean they are. The real problem is not what is paid to workers, it is the hand outs that end up in the pockets of the rich. Why do we have subsidized housing, to prop up the cost of housing. Why do we have state paid medical, to prop up the price of medical service……. May what we need is for the average worker to wake up to the fact that 401K type accounts are just slush funds for the wall street hucksters, there not retirement accounts….

  13. R Morrison Says:

    what needs to be changed in the public employee pension system are the abuses by the top brass. But things will never change because, lets face it, the top brass make the rules.

  14. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Looks like TOUGH lOVE is not in the office today at his/her private sector nest. Must be in the mountains playing paint ball on company time for team building. Or maybe out spending that bonus. Then again maybe TOUGH lOVE is down at city hall getting a job application to be a cop or a firefighter. There you go. Take the test. Show us what your made of.
    But Morrison you are right. This initiative they want to put on the November ballot is no more than a grab for two things. The writer, Kieth Richman and his cronies want to gain some political capital for his future attempts at some political office because he (like the rest of them) can’t handle a REAL JOB.
    And the already fed billions of (tax) dollars and think they deserve million dollar bonus brigade on Wall Street can not wait to have all of these public employees dropping monthly contributions into their hot little hands via 401k plans. If this happens, you will be able to hear the shouts for joy on Wall Street all the way into Santa Monica Ca.
    But I guess we will have to trust them because after all they are “the best” at what they do. YEAH RIGHT………

  15. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Oh, how could I forget. Today is one of those previously mentioned holidays for TOUGH lOVE and the like. Oh well enjoy. And if I don’t respond to any of your post the next couple of days TOUGH lOVE, that’s because I will be doing that public employee thing without access to the internet. At least not this one. But I’ll be back at ya in a few. Oh and enjoy Thanksgiving Day also, I’ll be working protecting people like… you.

  16. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Hi, Mad Taxpayer, G money, R Morrison … boy ypu guys have been busy (in between al that “busy work” i guess.

    Yup …. just got back form my boat, parked at the mansion along the shore ??????

    You guys are NUTs. you think ALL private sector workers are rich, with bonuses & expense accounts. Doesn’t the “entitlement group” (you guys) ever read the paper or watch the news. Just about everyone EXCEPT Civil Servants and CEOs are hurting.

    Sure, the CEOs are greedy, but your ‘entitlement mentality” is quite pathetic.

    Now to address a few of your comments ….

    To Mad Taxpayers: Yes, Private Sector workers do want Civil Servants to have “fair” pensions. To them that means something equivalent to what a Private Sector Taxpayer retiring at the SAME age, making the SAME pay, and retiring at the SAME age would get…. sounds reasonable, doesn’t it ? But currently, the non-safety Civil Servant’s pension is 2-4 times that of the similarly situated Private Sector worker, with that multiple rising to 4-6 times for policeman & fireman. We call that UNFAIR, sounds like you don’t.

    To Mad Taxpayer: you said you ” …chose to enjoy a benefit that I paid ..” You are likely paying for 10-20% of you pension and ZERO towards your retiree healthcare. TTAXPAYERS are paying the balance.

    To G MONEY: I know that the “average” Civil Servant pension is well below the $100K # we see published, but (see above) … at ALL pay levels, the Civil Servant pension is at least 2-4 times the similarly situated Private Sector worker. It is unfair to TAXPAYERS to be forced to fund a benefit level so much richer than they get.

    To R MORRISON: WIth BOTH higher current salaries AND MUCH MUCH higher benefits, exactly WHY should your salaries be raised (further) if we lower your benefits to a more sustainable level ?

    TO ALL of you: Since this Blog is primarily about pension issues in California, and since Calif. has 2 (perhaps 3 years) before financial meltdown, when (not if) the pension funds go belly up ……. what are you going to do? IOUs go only so far. The UAW thought they were invincible too !

  17. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    TOUGH lOVE: Good to hear from you. OK, here we go. Keep your hands and feet inside at all times.

    “Entitlement mentality”? As far as I’m concerned the only ones that embrace that concept would be ,welfare recipients,illegal immigrants and the Fat Cats on Wall Street with their bonuses. I am not entitled to anything I have not earned. I should not have to explain that one.

    And where do you come up with these numbers, 2-4 times and 4-6 times a private sector retirement? You tell me what the average private sector retirement is and I will tell you if I am getting that multiplied by 5. I don’t think so. You even admit your error in your reply to G.Money
    “To G MONEY: I know that the “average” Civil Servant pension is well below the $100K # we see published,” Just trying to see if you attended the same math classes as the Moron at 1600 Pennsylvania.

    I pay a percentage of my Sick Leave for health care and will pay all of my spouses costs. But here’s your newsflash: I am a “TTAXPAYER” too !
    And I am also upset about the cost of services. I just can not align with you on this cause.
    I think your problem is in definitions: You use the term “Civil Servant”
    pretty freely. Just to set the record straight, I am not your servant, I am a trained professional. And after reviewing the “risk verses gain” of a given situation, I will give all I’ve got (including my ass) to see that you and your family are safe. Yes, even you TOUGH Guy. Now after 30 years of enduring those decisions (that, I admit do not happen on a daily basis) and the stress that is applied not only to my mind but also to my body.
    Do you think I might be able to MAYBE (now you got me doing the capital letter thing) collect a retirement that has been set aside for me?
    Chances are pretty good that I will not get it all. But I would really like to try. If that’s alright with you.

    In closing, this is the bottom line. This proposed initiative is about diverting multiple billions of dollars to 401k plans so that those Fat Cats on Wall Street have more money and control. No thanks, I like knowing where my retirement is coming from.
    And this initiative will give a lift to the failed political career of it’s author. I do find it ironic though that I am being pitted against a man named “Richman”, get it?

    So to answer your question: “Since this Blog is primarily about pension issues in California, and since Calif. has 2 (perhaps 3 years) before financial meltdown, when (not if) the pension funds go belly up ……. what are you going to do? ” Well TOUGH guy, I am going to live on YOUR boat.
    Can I have a ride?
    Thanks for your replies. I do enjoy this forum.

  18. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Dear Mad Taxpayer, Its easiest to reply point-by-point by inserting my comments into your comment. Mine can be found in CAPITAL letters (just doing it that way to make them easier to find):

    TOUGH lOVE: Good to hear from you. OK, here we go. Keep your hands and feet inside at all times.

    “Entitlement mentality”? As far as I’m concerned the only ones that embrace that concept would be ,welfare recipients,illegal immigrants and the Fat Cats on Wall Street with their bonuses. I am not entitled to anything I have not earned. I GUESS IT’S DEFINITIONAL. TYPICAL PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS GET PENSIONS A LOT LOWER THAN YOU SEEM TO BE AWARE OF, AND THEY (OR AT LEAST I) DO NOT FEEL THAT PENSIONS OF PEOPLE MAKING THE SAME PAY, RETIRING AT THE SAME AGE, AND WORKING THE SAME NUMBER OF YEARS SHOULD HAVE WIDELY DIFFERING PENSIONS. I should not have to explain that one.

    And where do you come up with these numbers, 2-4 times and 4-6 times a private sector retirement? IF THIS MESSAGE BOARD ALLOWS VERY LONG MESSAGES, I WILL FOLLOW THIS MESSAGE WITH ONE THAT WORKS UP THE 4-6 TIMES # FOR POLICEMEN. You tell me what the average private sector retirement is and I will tell you if I am getting that multiplied by 5. I DIDN’T SAY THAT YOUR RETIREMENT IS 5 TIMES THE AVERAGE PRIVATE SECTOR PENSION ( ALTHOUGH IT IS LIKELY EVEN HIGHER). I SAID THAT (ASSUMING YOU ARE A CALIFORNIA POLICEMEN … THE ONES WITH THE 3% AT 50 PENSION FORMULA) YOUR PENSION IS LIKELY 4-6 TIMES THAT OF A PRIVATE SECTOR WORKER MAKING THE SAME PAY, RETIRING AT THE SAME AGE, AND HAVING WORKED FOR THE SAME NUMBER OF YEARS. (SEE LONG WORKUP TO FOLLOW IN NEXT COMMENT). I don’t think so. You even admit your error in your reply to G.Money
    “To G MONEY: I know that the “average” Civil Servant pension is well below the $100K # we see published,” THE “AVERAGE” PENSION IS BASICALLY MEANINGLESS BECAUSE THE FIGURE IS SIGNIFICANTLY BROUGHT DOWN (FROM WHAT A FULL CAREER PENSION WOULD BE) BY THE INCLUSION OF SHORT CAREER RETIREES AND THE INCLUSION OF PARTTIME WORKERS. Just trying to see if you attended the same math classes as the Moron at 1600 Pennsylvania. I GUESS FREE SPEECH ALLOWS YOU TO CALL AMERICA’S PRESIDENT A MORON, BUT KEEP IT UP AND YOUR EMPLOYER MIGHT GET AN INQUIRY FROM THE SECRET SERVICE (YOU SEE THEY PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THOSE WHO SAY SUCH THINGS AND ALSO CARRY GUNS)

    I pay a percentage of my Sick Leave for health care SICK LEAVE SHOULD BE EXCLUSIVELY FOR WHEN YOU ARE SICK (AS IT IS FOR PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS) AND YOU SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE IT TO OFFSET LEGITIMATE COSTS and will pay all of my spouses costs GOOD, I DIDN’T KNOW THIS. But here’s your newsflash: I am a “TAXPAYER” too ! YES YOU ARE, BUT YOU GET ALL THE BENEFITS WHILE PAYING ONLY 10-20% OF THE COSTS. PRIVATE SECTOR TAXPAYERS WOULD LOVE TO HAVE SUCH A GENEROUS DEAL.
    And I am also upset about the cost of services. FOR WHAT YOU PAY (FOR WHAT YOU GET) YOU SHOULD BE THANKING YOUR LUCKY STARS. I just can not align with you on this cause.
    I think your problem is in definitions: You use the term “Civil Servant”
    pretty freely. Just to set the record straight, I am not your servant, I AGREE. YOU (AND YOU UNIONS) HAVE BOUGHT THE POLITICIANS AND BECOME OUR MASTERS ….. BUT WE’RE GONNA DO OUR BEST TO CHANGE THAT. I am a trained professional. And after reviewing the “risk verses gain” of a given situation, I will give all I’ve got (including my ass) to see that you and your family are safe. THANK YOU. Yes, even you TOUGH Guy. Now after 30 years of enduring those decisions (that, I admit do not happen on a daily basis) and the stress that is applied not only to my mind but also to my body.
    Do you think I might be able to MAYBE (now you got me doing the capital letter thing) collect a retirement that has been set aside for me? PLEASE, YOUR PENSION IS 30-40% UNDERFUNDED. CURRENTLY, THE POSITION IN CALIFORNIA IS THAT TAXPAYERS WILL NEED TO MAKE UP THAT SHORTFALL. DO TO YOUR OVERLY GENEROUS PENSION FORMULA (SEE NEXT COMMENT ON THIS), I’D PREFER THAT BENEFITS ARE REDUCED SO TAXES DO NOT HAVE TO BE RAISED. IN FACT, IT IS VERY UNLIKELY THAT TAXES CAN BE SUFFICIENTLY RAISED (WITHOUT AN EXITUS OF SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES & CITIZENS, UNWILLING TO PAY MORE SO THAT YOU CAN RETIRE SO COMFORTABLY).
    Chances are pretty good that I will not get it all. I AGREE. But I would really like to try. If that’s alright with you. YES IT IS.

    In closing, this is the bottom line. This proposed initiative is about diverting multiple billions of dollars to 401k plans so that those Fat Cats on Wall Street have more money and control. No thanks, I like knowing where my retirement is coming from. I CAN CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND WHY … WHO WOULDN’T?
    And this initiative will give a lift to the failed political career of it’s author. I do find it ironic though that I am being pitted against a man named “Richman”, get it? THAT IS PRETTY FUNNY … THANKS, I MISSED THAT AMUSING CONNECTION.

    So to answer your question: “Since this Blog is primarily about pension issues in California, and since Calif. has 2 (perhaps 3 years) before financial meltdown, when (not if) the pension funds go belly up ……. what are you going to do? ” Well TOUGH guy, I am going to live on YOUR boat. ACTUALLY I DISLIKE BOATING … WAS JUST KIDDING.
    Can I have a ride?
    Thanks for your replies. I do enjoy this forum.

  19. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    If you “do the math” ….

    The total “value” of benefits at retirement is the present value of all future payments, be they pensions benefits, healthcare premium subsidies, or anything else. Some of these future cash flows are definitively known at the time of retirement (e.g., fixed monthly pensions), and others need to be estimated (e.g., healthcare premiums, the incremental value of future COLA pension increases, etc.). However, all of these future payments can be reasonably estimated (sometimes with several options such as the low, medium, and high liability estimates routinely provided by the Social Security Administration). Once all known and estimated future payments have been determined, they can be discounted to the point of retirement at an assumed interest rate and an assumed mortality rate (for those payments that cease upon death). The interest rate used in this calculation is very important, but actuaries routinely do calculations of this sort and the range of reasonable interest assumptions for this purpose is fairly narrow.

    The present value of all retirement pension and benefit payments can be looked at as the answer to the question ….. How much would an insurance company charge in a single payment at the time of retirement to take on the guaranteed responsibility to make all future payments in lieu of the former employer.

    If we examine two 30-year service, age 55 workers (one Private Sector & one a Policeman or Fireman) making $100,000 in base pay + $20,000 in overtime at retirement, what would these present values be?

    Being somewhat versed in the subject of employee benefits I’ll describe the “likely” pensions & retirement benefits afforded each and then estimate their present values.

    Let’s assume the Private Sector worker is one of the few lucky enough to still have the older traditional-style defined benefit pension plan, and does NOT contribute towards its cost (common practice in Private Sector plans). With 30 years of service and with a typical formula that takes into account wages above and below Social Security “covered compensation”, this worker would likely receive about 40% of final 3-year average pay at normal retirement age, and overtime would NOT be included in benefits-bearing compensation.

    Here’s how the Present value would be calculated …

    Assume $95,000 is the AVERAGE of the last 3 year’s base salary, so 40% x 95,000 = $38,000. But this would be payable only if the employee waited until his plan’s “normal retirement age”. Let’s assume that his plan’s normal retirement age is 60. Since he will start collecting his pension 5 years early, there would be an “actuarial reduction” of 4 to 6% per year (just like Social Security applies when someone starts collecting early at age 62). Let’s assume the yearly reduction is 5%. So … we now have an annual pension of $38,000 x .75 = 28,500.

    Now, to convert this to a “present value” we need to apply a life annuity factor (which incorporates the interest and mortality discounts discussed earlier). For someone retiring at age 55 this “factor” would be a multiplier of about 15. So … the present value of this worker’s pension is $28,500 x 15 = $427,500.

    We will also assume there are no post-retirement healthcare benefits, as such benefits are VERY rare in the Private Sector.

    Now let’s calculate the present value of the Policeman’s pension & benefits.

    The pension formula for the policeman is often 3% of the last year’s salary (including overtime) per year of service and with no “actuarial reduction” for collecting benefits at age 55 (unlike for the private Sector worker). So … we have ($100,000+$20,000)x.03×30 =$108,000. But, we’re not done …

    The policeman’s pension includes a provision for post-retirement COLA increases (while essentially NO Private Sector plans do so). Although this may surprise the reader, the “value” of this added benefit is VERY significant. Even with a modest long-term inflation assumption of 3%/yr, the addition of a COLA benefit for life increases the value of the pension by at least 50%. Hence, the levelized annual pension (with the COLA) is now $108,000×1.5=$162,000.

    Using the same annuity factor of 15 (as used in the Private Sector workup above), we have a present value of 15x$162,000=$2,430,000.

    But wait, we’re still not done (2 more items to adjust for) …

    First, in fairness, the policeman contributes a percentage of his pay toward his pension (unlike the Private Sector worker), and the accumulated value (at interest) of these payments at retirement should be subtracted from the above $2,430,000 for a fair comparison. For this policeman whose final total pay was $120,000, I have calculated the accumulated value at retirement date of his contributions to be roughly $400,000. Hence the present value of this officer’s pension (offset by the accumulated vale of his contributions) is $2,430,000-$400,000=$2,030,000

    Second, this officer gets free or heavily subsidized retiree healthcare for himself AND his family. Since he is not eligible for Medicare until age 65, his healthcare premiums are very expensive and are expected to increase annually at 8-12%, triple the rate of regular (non-medical care) inflation. The present value of this benefit and the post Medicare age healthcare subsidy is roughly $500,000.

    Hence, the present value of this officer’s pension AND retiree healthcare benefit is $2,030,000+$500,000=$2,530,000.

    Now, let compare the present value for these 2 workers making the SAME pay, working for the SAME number of years, and retiring at the SAME age.

    The Private Sector worker’s EMPLOYER-PROVIDED retirement benefits are worth (as a present value on the date of retirement) $427,500.

    The Policeman’s TAXPAYER-PROVIDED retirement benefits are worth (as a present value on the date of retirement) $2,530,000.

    The crisis associated with funding Civil Servant Pensions and benefits is NOT a revenue shortfall issue. It is CLEARLY one of EXCESSIVELY GENEROUS pensions and benefits as the above calculations demonstrate.

    For 2 similarly situated workers (in pay, years of service, and retirement age) the Policeman’s package of retirement benefits costs the TAXPAYERS almost SIX TIMES what the typical Private Sector employer is willing to pay.

    Clearly, if the Private Sector employer provided the same benefits to his workers that the policeman receives, his company would likely go bankrupt in short order.

    These unreasonable benefits have been provided due to a political structure that rewards politicians for “giving-away-the-store” of not their own, but TAXPAYERS’ money, for personal gain. This “gain” may simply be to feed their ego, garner the union support needed to get re-elected, or perhaps worse … for current or future personal financial gain.

    In any event, the current situation is without doubt unsustainable and without MAJOR REDUCTIONS to the benefits provided CURRENT (not just NEW) public employees, towns, cities, and states will be filing bankruptcy with increasing frequency.

    Unfortunately, since difficult change is delayed and delayed and delayed to avoid the confrontation (with very aggressive unions), important public services will suffer tremendously until action is FINALLY taken.

    I’m sure there will be Civil Servants (with vested interest in the status quo) that will say my figures are wrong. Estimates are necessary, and small variations in assumptions will change the figures to a minor degree, but the final relationship is quite accurate …. TAXPAYERS are forced (via their taxes) to pay almost SIX times as much as the Private Sector employer is willing to pay.

    By-the-way … any qualified actuary can verify the reasonableness of my figures and conclusions, …. and I would welcome the actuary who offers to do so ……

    Bye-the-way ……… I didn’t mention it above, but it’s worth a comment …… Civil Servants often take advantage of what’s commonly called “spiking” to unfairly boost one’s pension just before retirement. This takes many forms: large last minute promotions and/or raises, excessive/unusual overtime, cashout of sick and/or vacation days with the payout included in “compensation” for pension calculation purposes, or inclusion in “compensation” of miscellaneous “allowances” (housing, vehicle, parking, uniform, etc.).

    None of this is EVER allowed in Private Sector employer-sponsored plans (employers are spending THEIR OWN money, not TAXPAYER’S, and would never be so foolish). For every $10,000 of “spiking” that works its way into the above Policeman’s “compensation”, it costs the TAXPAYERS an additional $10,000x.03x30x1.5×15=$202,500 !

  20. ryan Says:

    boy a lot of fired up responses… a couple points in general (disclaimer, i am a state worker):

    1. i work IT for the state. My salary is (and has been for the last 11 years) at least 20% and probably closer to 50% below market average for what i do… the same with my co-workers… with my experience in IT, i could quite easily make 6 figures in the private sector (the trade off being no pension – duh – and longer hours)… sometimes you have to balance quality of life vs. pay…. as mad taxpayer suggests (paraphrasing): pay me now (salary) or pay me later (pension)… i can’t speak for state workers outside my field but i know for a fact that IT salaries lag significantly behind private sector salaries…

    2. forgetting pay for a second, what about employer match to 401k? why has no one brought that up? i know some private sector places are not matching this year, but the vast majority are probably still… one nice thing about employer match is that the money is eventually vested and becomes yours after a while… not so with my pension… the “match” that the state puts in (except in good years, btw, when they don’t have to “match” anything at all) is never “mine” until i retire… i leave it and goes “poof”… i suppose it could be argued that the match going to pensions would be used to match the 401k-style accounts, assuming us state workers deserved it… anyway, the point being that most private sector employers offer a significant match benefit that would need to be used instead of a pension…

    3. mad taxpayer sounds like a safety worker and probably gets a raw deal on the holidays, etc… i can’t complain on that front though, because i get a ridiculous amount of holidays, way more than the private sector… i’m the first to admit that…

    4. the salaries of the majority of state workers (non-safety) has been slashed by 10-15% this year due to furloughs… but oh yeah, the work still has to get done so administrators put pressure on us to work extra… at least in IT… i guess it beats losing my job like i might risk in the private sector… but the way things are going in the state, i might do just that next fiscal year anyway…

    5. i simply disagree with toughlove and his assertion that california will melt down in the next couple years… are things bad? yep… as bad as they have ever been? certainly in my lifetime to this point… but i guess i’m a glass half full kind of guy… if my pension goes poof in the next 10 years because the state is bankrupt or something radical happens on the pension front, well that’s life… i have some other (meager) retirement vehicles that will help me struggle through until social security kicks in (ha…. like that will be around in 30-40 years)…

    6. i’m tossed about the tiered approach (new hires get less benefits)… toughlove is right, it really does nothing for us in the next 20 years or so but eventually it would start to help… and i think if you are a new hire, you have a choice to take the job at the 2nd tier and decide if you want to commit to a career for the state… but the biggest problem i have with talking about changing my benefits is you can’t give me back the past 11 years… if you change the rules on me in the middle of the game, i’m stuck…

    7. finally i agree with mad taxpayer that the real push behind ending the pension and pushing everyone to 401k-style accounts is coming from wall street under the guise of “reform” (isn’t almost everything in politics done the same way?)… they probably were about to blow a load in their pants when bush wanted to privatize social security… now the start with a two tier approach is only the opening salvo in the “reform”… if that passes, they start working on the 1st tier or perhaps then pushing only the 2nd tier to 401k-style accounts… then the 1st tier starts to get worked on…

    if you give a moose a muffin…

  21. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Ryan, you are likely correct that your state pay is somewhat below Private sector levels. Studies show this to be true for the professional/technical occupations.

    Re Safety workers … when factoring in their ridiculous pay and even more ridiculous pensions (3%@50 … with COLAs) and retiree healthcare, they are WAY overcompensated by ANY measure.

  22. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Hey TOUGH Guy, I’m back for a bit.
    One things for certain TOUGH Guy, you can do the figures (and skew them into your favor I might add).
    OK, I’ll keep this simple. So were gonna go with $95,000?
    “Assume $95,000 is the AVERAGE of the last 3 year’s base salary,” your words for the private sector salary. And using your jacked mentality here:
    “TAXPAYERS are forced (via their taxes) to pay almost SIX times as much as the Private Sector employer is willing to pay.”
    That makes my yearly retirement (I’ll be fair here and only multiply by 5) about $475,000. Great where do I sign up for your plan? Because I am no where near that figure.
    Not meaning to rain on your parade here, but for my calculations you can toss the “six times” figure. Not include spousal health care. Not include overtime. And do away with your “spiking” theory. Oh and while your at it, why do I need ,housing,vehicle and parking?

    Here check out this site and see if you still want to play this game.
    http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009911040465

    “Re Safety workers … when factoring in their ridiculous pay and even more ridiculous pensions (3%@50 … with COLAs) and retiree healthcare, they are WAY overcompensated by ANY measure.”
    They are not so expensive when you call 911 and need one,are they?

  23. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    OK, OK that’s not playing fair. Go ahead and use the $38000 figure for your calculations. Surprise: IT IS STILL TO HIGH !!

    By the way. What kind of retirement is your buddy Kieth Richman getting for his short time in the state legislature? A pension, health care,state insurance services ect… . Maybe your little agenda should include taking away these type of perks from has been politicians as well. Looks like your fearless leader may have something to fear after all.

    Now that could make somebody a mad taxpayer.

  24. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Mad Taxpayer … evidently you are not capable of following the description /calculations step-by-step.

    For the more simple minded, the “6 Times” is the ratio of the present value at the point of retirement of the Police Vs Private sector pension and retiree healthcare (not a ratio of salaries).

    What IS interesting is that your own union (via there advisors) knows I’m correct … but they are certainly doing there darndest to it hide from taxpayers.

    If in YOUR plan, overtime is not included and there is is no retiree health subsidy for your spouse, then the ratio would drop somewhat … OK, so yours is only about 5 times that of the similarly situated Private Sector worker.

    Should THAT make the TAXPAYERS feel any better ? Face it, your pension & retiree benefits are absurd.

    Now, all of that having been said, somewhere in your comments, I recall you having said that you have already worked for 30 years. Then feel relieved, as I do not feel it proper to reduce any of YOUR benefits … but only because they were accrued in PAST years. It would be wrong to take away what has ALREADY BEEN accrued for PAST years of service.

    My beef is that even though most (at least rational) people agree that the pension formula is too generous, the many (including 100% of those riding on this grave train) feel that the “formula” should continue to apply for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT employees ….. I strongly disagree … we need not and should not continue to allow these overly generous pensions to grow FURTHER.

    My comments are intended to educate the public as to the abuse of this current structure.

  25. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    TOUGH lOVE Says:
    “Mad Taxpayer … evidently you are not capable of following the description /calculations step-by-step. ”
    To which I respond: It’s not that that I am incapable,I just don’t see the need to follow such misguided figures. I am after all just a lowly “civil servant”and not some kind of retirement calculation guru, as you appear to be.
    TOUGH lOVE Says:
    “What IS interesting is that your own union (via there advisors) knows I’m correct … but they are certainly doing there darndest to it hide from taxpayers.”
    To which I respond: I never mentioned what agency employs me. You tell me so I will know how to do my calculations correctly.🙂
    TOUGH lOVE Says:
    “If in YOUR plan, overtime is not included and there is is no retiree health subsidy for your spouse, then the ratio would drop somewhat … OK, so yours is only about 5 times that of the similarly situated Private Sector worker.”
    To which I respond: So just guessing my math was correct? Man, I am smarter that I thought. See those calculations aren’t so tough.
    TOUGH lOVE Says:
    “My beef is that even though most (at least rational) people agree that the pension formula is too generous, the many (including 100% of those riding on this grave train) feel that the “formula” should continue to apply for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT employees ….. I strongly disagree … we need not and should not continue to allow these overly generous pensions to grow FURTHER.”
    To which I respond: Now this may surprise you, but I agree. Yes I said I agree with this statement. Let me explain. The intent of a “civil servant”is to serve. No one on my side of the fence (and I know I speak for a majority here) wants to be known as “those guy’s” that bankrupted the city,county or state jurisdiction that employs them with “lavish” benefit packages. We are just looking at what is fair for the “safety section” retirement sector. And yes,it is not fair to make municipal budgets dance around our definition of fair. (I know your going to jump on this one, LOL). In my organization we have for years been adjusting the “formula” and have implemented a two and even three tier system into our retirement benefits. We understand that we must make adjustments accordingly and have.We have already done what you are trying to do with the CCFR proposition. And we are not alone. Every agency has a some type of agreement with their employer and these agreements are renewed on a yearly basis (And sometimes multiple years). We understand what the economic climate is and will be presented contract offers reflecting the changes needed to maintain services. We get it ! And can accomplish your mission in a more aggressive time frame. And without the “crap” attached to this proposition. Have you read this thing. Adjusting the “formula” is one thing, but a mandate to work to a certain age, requiring two-thirds voter approval for adjustments, restricting collective bargaining and restricting retiree health benefits. Yeah, now that you’ve worked and torqued your body years beyond it’s limits, here’s your retirement capped at 60% and a swift kick in the nuts if you are hurt. Enjoy life, what’s left of it. I cant wait.
    So why are you basically reinventing the wheel for the wrong size vehicle? You will agree that because of hard economic times, this issue is getting more traction. That’s funny because when the almighty stock market was chiming in around 13000 points every day, you didn’t hear a peep about this. Now you and the like are moving the bulls eye onto my back? What gives? Especially when we have been there and done that already. (See above)
    I guess my point is:We are more aligned that you thought. So why place this in front of the voters when it’s already being addressed? I have told you why but you do not respond to the truth. Oh, our concessions(in previous contracts) are not enough for you? Now who’s being greedy my friend?
    The truth is, the wolves on Wall Street are licking theirs chops to have all of California’s public employees contribute to 401k and other plans to increase their profits and manipulate our money. I say Fuck em!
    They have already received multi-billion (with a B) dollar bailouts
    (of TAXPAYER money ) that they won’t lend out, and then turned around and doled out million dollar bonuses to keep “the best” employed. You can’t tell me your happy with that ? (Unless that’s what you used to buy the boat🙂 )
    And the truth is your “buddy” Kieth “also collecting a state pension” Richman is looking to get political mileage out of this. He could careless about this issue. It’s all about getting name recognition and running for some other plush political office. Hey Kieth, go out and get a real job like me and TOUGH Guy here !

  26. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Dear Mad Taxpayer … glad we found at least “some” common ground.

    But you seem to think a pension cap of 60% of final pay (with a COLA) is a slap in the face. Do you realize that just about ANY Private sector worker would give their right arm for such a pension. … it’s mutiples of even the typical FULL CAREER Private Sector worker’s pension.

    This gets back to the entitlement mentality that is so pervasive among Civil Servants.

  27. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    “But you seem to think a pension cap of 60% of final pay (with a COLA) is a slap in the face. Do you realize that just about ANY Private sector worker would give their right arm for such a pension. … it’s mutiples of even the typical FULL CAREER Private Sector worker’s pension.”

    Some public service workers HAVE GIVEN THEIR RIGHT ARM (and more) for their pensions.

    “This gets back to the entitlement mentality that is so pervasive among Civil Servants”.

    I am “entitled” to what is offered and agreed upon between my employer and my union (as you are with your employer). Nobody twisted their arms to sign on for our retirements. They thought they could afford them and now they cant. So we as a union will add ANOTHER TIER to our retirement structure (We presently have 3). We are already doing what you want done. You think this proposition is some new thing that is going to “shape up” those greedy public employees. We have and will continue to make adjustments in our retirement structure to accommodate the annual operating budget of our agency. Now do you see my point? This proposition is useless. If it passes it will be either thrown out or torn down in the courts. You know that. You are not that stupid. You seem like an educated person. Now put the weapon down slowly.🙂
    Welcome to America TOUGH lOVE……………..

  28. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Quoting …”Nobody twisted their arms to sign on for our retirements. They thought they could afford them and now they cant.”

    Come on now … YOU (through your union) bribed the politicians with campaign contributions and re-election support . A clear quid-pro-quo … you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your.These bribe-taking politicians belong in jail, and the unsustainable (and overly generous) pensions & benefits should be rolled back to a level that was truly affordable. .. in the absence of such bribery

  29. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Quoting ..”I am “entitled” to what is offered and agreed upon between my employer and my union (as you are with your employer). ”

    As I said in an earlier comment, I am NOT challenging YOUR accrued benefits (for your 30 years) … but only they were accrued in past years and (even I) do not feel it fair to reduce that which has ALREADY been earned.

    Where I’m sure we part ways is say for the 15 year employee with 15 years to go. While I’m betting you feel that that employee is entitled to continue earning a pension on the SAME (overly rich) fromula for the NEXT 15 years, I do NOT … the formula for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT employees should be reduced to a level more consistent with what Private Sector employees earn … and that is tremendously LOWER than the current formula for cops & fireman.

  30. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    “Come on now … YOU (through your union) bribed the politicians with campaign contributions and re-election support . A clear quid-pro-quo … you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your.These bribe-taking politicians belong in jail, and the unsustainable (and overly generous) pensions & benefits should be rolled back to a level that was truly affordable. .. in the absence of such bribery”
    Sounds just like the guys on Wall Street that want my money. What a coincidence. Like I said. Welcome to America.

    “Where I’m sure we part ways is say for the 15 year employee with 15 years to go. While I’m betting you feel that that employee is entitled to continue earning a pension on the SAME (overly rich) fromula for the NEXT 15 years, I do NOT …”
    This half of the paragraph I agree on. We should not have pensions that impact overall operations to the point of bankruptcy. And like I said, we have and will continue to make these necessary adjustments. Did you hear it this time?

    “the formula for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT employees should be reduced to a level more consistent with what Private Sector employees earn … and that is tremendously LOWER than the current formula for cops & fireman.”
    On this portion I disagree. That is why it called a “safety section” retirement, and is separated from the private sector. Because these individuals have provided for public safety,risking life and limb (and this includes their “right arm”) and have decreased their life expectancy in retirements (equating to a savings for you). That is why the rates of these pensions are different. If you would like to have your local policeman or firefighter serve you with the same enthusiasm as the counter help at Burger King, then please feel free to pursue your ridiculous proposition.
    What’s your real beef here? Did your first wife run off with a cop or fireman? At least your post indicate something like that happened.
    While I do appreciate your passion here, you are starting to worry me.

  31. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Quoting …”This half of the paragraph I agree on. We should not have pensions that impact overall operations to the point of bankruptcy. And like I said, we have and will continue to make these necessary adjustments. Did you hear it this time?”

    Lets see if you are genuine ….. do you agree that the formula for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT employees (yes, safety employees too) should be reduced ?

    Doing so only for NEW employees will do squat for 20+ years.

  32. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    OK TOUGH lOVE,
    I recommend for your health a bone density exam. Start between your ears. Now one more time for the hearing impaired.
    My Quotes: “And like I said, we have and will continue to make these necessary adjustments.”
    “So we as a union will add ANOTHER TIER to our retirement structure (We presently have 3). We are already doing what you want done.”

    Maybe it will sink in this time. One can only hope.

    Your question:”Lets see if you are genuine ….. do you agree that the formula for FUTURE years of service for CURRENT employees (yes, safety employees too) should be reduced ?”

    First off, do not question my (or any public safety employees) ability to be “genuine”. We are dodging “genuine” bullets here, we are fighting “genuine” fires and we sometimes hold “genuinely’ dead children in our arms. At moments our jobs are not pretty or easy. Have I cleared the “genuine” air here?
    Now to answer your question. Based on my previous votes for contracts that have ALREADY set up tiers in the retirement benefits for my agency, the answer would be yes. Like I said, WE ARE ALREADY THERE. GET IT !

    Now for the bad news. First let me say your posts on this blog have been very well articulated and informative. And they have provoked some “genuine” thought.Thank You. About half way through I realized what a benefit your counter points will be. You see I will be attending a meeting on Friday for the CHCRS, translated this is the Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security. Yes, this is the organization who will defeat “Richmans” ridiculous initiative. And part of our strategies will no doubt counter some of your arguments made on this blog. In short you have been duped. Again, Thank You.

  33. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Thanks for the reply … but I’m not convinced you support the reduction for CURRENT employees (for FUTURE years of service).

    No tier change to date has ever done that. They ONLY reduce benefits for NEW employees.

    The fact that you danced around my question w/o a clear and specific answer makes that more obvious.

    By-the-way, I have never questioned your being”genuine” with respect to your police work. Obviously I do not know you, but you sound very dedicated.

    Good luck … we will likely continue to disagree on what is an appropriate level of pension and retirement benefits … fair to you, but also fair to the much larger segment of non-public-servant taxpayers.

  34. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Dear Mad Taxpayer, Please take a look at the article in the link below. It is on Mississippi’s similar pension problem, but with rational suggestions from their governor (very similar to mine) as to what is needed to address the difficult situation.

    http://gwcommonwealth.com/articles/2009/11/18/opinion/editorials/11182009edit01.txt

  35. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    TOUGH lOVE Says:
    November 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    “Thanks for the reply … but I’m not convinced you support the reduction for CURRENT employees (for FUTURE years of service).”
    YOU ARE NOT CONVINCED THAT MY VOTE FOR CONTRACTS THAT HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THIS ARE ENOUGH?

    “No tier change to date has ever done that. They ONLY reduce benefits for NEW employees.”
    ISN’T THIS WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ESTABLISH WITH “RICHMANS” PROPOSITION? ONCE AGAIN, BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!!
    YOU MUST BE A FEMALE. THE BONE DENSITY IN THE CRANIUM IS EVIDENT.

    TOUGH lOVE Says:
    “The fact that you danced around my question w/o a clear and specific answer makes that more obvious.”

    DANCED AROUND YOUR QUESTIONS ?. BELOW IS A LIST OF MY QUESTIONS ASKED THROUGHOUT THIS EXCHANGE, BUT YOU DON’T HEAR ME WHINING (AGAIN FEMALE) THAT THEY DID NOT GET ANSWERED.

    After all these people don’t “deserve” these benefits do they?.

    By the way. What kind of retirement is your buddy Kieth Richman getting for his short time in the state legislature?

    “Re Safety workers … when factoring in their ridiculous pay and even more ridiculous pensions (3%@50 … with COLAs) and retiree healthcare, they are WAY overcompensated by ANY measure.”
    They are not so expensive when you call 911 and need one,are they?

    I guess my point is:We are more aligned that you thought. So why place this in front of the voters when it’s already being addressed? I have told you why but you do not respond to the truth. Oh, our concessions(in previous contracts) are not enough for you? Now who’s being greedy my friend?

    The truth is, the wolves on Wall Street are licking theirs chops to have all of California’s public employees contribute to 401k and other plans to increase their profits and manipulate our money. I say Fuck em!
    They have already received multi-billion (with a B) dollar bailouts
    (of TAXPAYER money ) that they won’t lend out, and then turned around and doled out million dollar bonuses to keep “the best” employed. You can’t tell me your happy with that ?

    YOU GO GIRL…………….

  36. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    TOUGH lOVE Says:
    “The fact that you danced around my question w/o a clear and specific answer makes that more obvious.”

    Mad Taxpayer Says: (From a previous post)
    “Now to answer your question. Based on my previous votes for contracts that have ALREADY set up tiers in the retirement benefits for my agency, the answer would be yes. Like I said, WE ARE ALREADY THERE. GET IT !”
    I did answer your question…Dear.

    Please have the person next to you who reads these posts for you explain to you what I am trying to say here.

  37. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Exactly how ..”are you there” …. exactly WHEN (specifically) have benefits for Future years of service for CURRENT (CURRENT … THOSE EMPLOYED TODAY) workers been reduced ?????

    I don’t believe you … you are STILL dancing around the question and REFUSE to say … CLEARLY … YES … I support a reducing in benefits for CURRENT workers.

    How about DIRECTLY answering it w/o changing the subject.

  38. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Like I said, “Please have the person next to you who reads these posts for you explain to you what I am trying to say here.”

    If (the two of) you will go back through these post you will find things that I have written explaining things like:
    “So we as a union will add ANOTHER TIER to our retirement structure (We presently have 3). We are already doing what you want done.”
    That is “Exactly how ..are you there” is answered. These tiers were established within the last six years over two contracts.COVERS “WHEN”.

    And (another post I made), “Now to answer your question. Based on my previous votes for contracts that have ALREADY set up tiers in the retirement benefits for my agency, the answer would be yes. Like I said, WE ARE ALREADY THERE. GET IT !”

    See it, look again there it is! The word YES. Because I ALREADY HAVE SUPPORTED A REDUCTION IN CURRENT EMPLOYEES BENEFITS. READ ABOVE.

    AS FAR AS I CAN TELL THIS IS THE “SAME SUBJECT”. I AM ABOUT TO START CALLING YOU NAMES, BUT WILL REFRAIN FOR ONE MORE POST.

    If there are any other bloggers on this site, please help Miss “Don’t Get It” understand the concept here! She is about to drive me crazy.

    And by the way, I have at least 5 questions pending that have not been addressed. Have your friend read them to you.

  39. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Lord, your still at it ……. but a glimmer of hope …I actually see the words “I ALREADY HAVE SUPPORTED A REDUCTION IN CURRENT EMPLOYEES BENEFITS”

    Close, but not really what I was looking for. That statement is looking back (that’s history). I want you to look forward and affirmatively say you will support new cuts to FUTURE year of service benefits for CURRENT employees.

    I know you’ll never do so … its real clear.

    You should sign up for “dancing with the stars”… you a master at dancing.

  40. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    I am not your puppet here. If you want something to dangle around and make it speak, go buy a dog.

    “I want you to look forward and affirmatively say you will support new cuts to FUTURE year of service benefits for CURRENT employees.”
    What you want and what you are going to get are not even in the same hemisphere.

    Word on the street is that our new contract will have provisions for creating even more tiers in our retirement benefits. This will involve some current employees. So if I vote for that contract you want me to call you?. Will that satisfy the requirement?.

    Now explain to me why I should even care what you think. It would appear that you are not even voting on this California proposition.

    “Dear Mad Taxpayer, Please take a look at the article in the link below. It is on Mississippi’s similar pension problem, but with rational suggestions from their governor (very similar to mine) as to what is needed to address the difficult situation.”

    Since he is not “our” governor, this makes your vote a no count for this issue. Good!.

  41. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    The issues the Mississippi governor is RATIONALLY addressing are 3-fold worse in California.

    Maybe you guys should listen-up.

  42. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    This moronic initiative needs 1 MILLION signatures to even be put on the ballot. You have lots of work ahead of you. And no electronic signing allowed. You have to stand and beg in front of the grocery store like everyone else.

    What the “rational” governor is suggesting, has already been done. Tell me something new here. Your starting to sound like a broken record.

    And I’m listening alright. I can hear you and the like whining everyday. Get over it. We are making adjustments to our benefits.

  43. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    Predictions for California:

    (1) Barred from the bond markets within 1 year
    (2) Paychecks via IOUs in 12-24 months
    (3) Huge cuts in city/municipal services in 12-18 months
    (4) Near Civil War between taxpayers & civil servants 18-24 months
    culminating in benefit & pension reductions in 24-36 months

  44. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    You don’t even live here and you are making predictions for California?
    What are you smoking?

    What did you trip over a crystal ball in the garage on your way to your private parking spot?

    Give me a break!

  45. TOUGH lOVE Says:

    I find it soooooo funny that you keep coming back to see what I have to say (or should I say “predict”) next.

    Ok … here’sanother prediction …. Do not assume your pension will be paid as promised (even though it has already been accrued for past service.

    Ca WILL just run out of money in the not-to-distant future.

  46. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    You don’t know JACK !
    My pension is guaranteed by law and is solvent for the next 25 years.
    Do some research before you spout off your ridiculous predictions.
    Maybe you need to clean that crystal ball before you read it.

    And California is not going to run out of money, not as long as the
    Moron at 1600 Pennsylvania keeps trying to print his way out of debt.

  47. Tough Love Says:

    I’m quite sure the Wisconsin retirees’ pensions were also guaranteed by law … they are now receiving about 75% of scheduled benefits.

    The pensioners in an Alabama town are now getting ZERO … the plan ran out of money . That was also “guaranteed”.

    The “I’m guaranteed” is only as good as the available funds….. and barring a miracle, the funds will dry up way before you go to your maker.

    As to saying the plan is “solvent” …… what rock are your living under …. read the newspaper ….. using reasonable earnings & liability assumptions (the ones Corporate Plans governed by ERISA are required to use) your plan is in dire straights. The taxpayers won’t bail you out, and I doubt that your younger associates are willing to VERY SIGNIFICANTLY up their contributions just to make sure you get yours.

    Be on the safe side … save & invest 25-50% of each check, You may well need it when all these plans implode.

  48. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    “The “I’m guaranteed” is only as good as the available funds….. and barring a miracle, the funds will dry up way before you go to your maker.”

    THE FUND FOR MY AGENCY IS OVER $2 BILLION STRONG. CURRENT EARNINGS ARE KEEPING THIS FUND “SOLVENT”.

    “As to saying the plan is “solvent” …… what rock are your living under …. read the newspaper ….. using reasonable earnings & liability assumptions (the ones Corporate Plans governed by ERISA are required to use) your plan is in dire straights.
    NOPE. LIKE I SAID YOUR TALKING OUT OF YOUR _ _ _.
    The taxpayers won’t bail you out, and I doubt that your younger associates are willing to VERY SIGNIFICANTLY up their contributions just to make sure you get yours.
    AND AGAIN LIKE I SAID, “WE ALREADY HAVE TIERS IN OUR RETIREMENT SYSTEM” (FOR THE 6TH TIME).SO DEAR, THEY ARE MAKING CONTRIBUTIONS THAT WILL “GUARANTEE” MY RETIREMENT AND THEIRS. ONCE AGAIN YOU DO NOT KNOW OF WHAT YOU SPEAK. OUR RETIREMENTS REPRESENT A SMALL FRACTION OF THE STATE BUDGET. ELIMINATING WASTE AND FRAUD IN THE STATE BUDGET WOULD BE THE ANSWER TO THEIR (POLITICIANS) PROBLEMS. NOT TRYING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. LETS PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS. ON OPPORTUNISTIC POLITICIANS,WALL STREET GREED AND THE IMPACT OF CORPORATE EXCESSES ON STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE.
    THESE IDIOTS WILL NOT COST ME MY PENSION, I CAN ASSURE YOU OF THAT !

  49. Tough Love Says:

    Lets say your fund has the $2 Billion you speak of. Then, is your PLAN “solvent” if it has matching liabilities of $3 Billion? THIS is the situation that MOST CA plans NOW find themselves. Ask your Plan Administrator for the Plan’s “funding ratio”.

    NEW tiers only apply to NEW employees. As I have previously stated (ad nausium) we need pension formula reductions for future years of service for CURRENT employees. THAT, along with elimination (or VERY signification reduction) in retiree healthcare may just be sufficient to put a dent into solving this HUGH problem.

    Just keep repeating “but its Guaranteed”, “but its Guaranteed”. If said enough times, maybe it will all work out OK …. evem when the money runs out …… Do you believe in the tooth fairy ?

  50. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Lets say your fund has the $2 Billion you speak of. Then, is your PLAN “solvent” if it has matching liabilities of $3 Billion? THIS is the situation that MOST CA plans NOW find themselves. Ask your Plan Administrator for the Plan’s “funding ratio”.
    MY “ADMINISTRATOR” IS WHERE I GOT MY INFO. UNLIKE YOU JUST MAKING SHIT UP. EXAMPLE:” if it has matching liabilities of $3 Billion”

    NEW tiers only apply to NEW employees. As I have previously stated (ad nausium) we need pension formula reductions for future years of service for CURRENT employees.
    THE ONE WHO IS BLUE IN THE FACE HERE IS ME. I WILL POST ALL OF THE TIMES I HAVE TRIED TO EXPLAIN THIS TO YOU. YOU CAN STOP HERE IF YOU WOULD LIKE. I AM NOT CALLING YOU STUPID. BUT FOUR EXPLANATIONS IN ONE DAY, COME ON. DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU WANT TO EMBARRASS YOURSELF HERE?

    NOV 19: Word on the street is that our new contract will have provisions for creating even more tiers in our retirement benefits. This will involve some current employees. So if I vote for that contract you want me to call you?. Will that satisfy the requirement?.

    AGAIN NOV 19:“So we as a union will add ANOTHER TIER to our retirement structure (We presently have 3). We are already doing what you want done.”
    That is “Exactly how ..are you there” is answered. These tiers were established within the last six years over two contracts.COVERS “WHEN”.

    And (another post I made), “Now to answer your question. Based on my previous votes for contracts that have ALREADY set up tiers in the retirement benefits for my agency, the answer would be yes. Like I said, WE ARE ALREADY THERE. GET IT !”

    AND ONCE AGAIN ON NOV 19:“Thanks for the reply … but I’m not convinced you support the reduction for CURRENT employees (for FUTURE years of service).”
    YOU ARE NOT CONVINCED THAT MY VOTE FOR CONTRACTS THAT HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THIS ARE ENOUGH?

    “No tier change to date has ever done that. They ONLY reduce benefits for NEW employees.”
    ISN’T THIS WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ESTABLISH WITH “RICHMANS” PROPOSITION? ONCE AGAIN, BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!!
    YOU MUST BE A FEMALE. THE BONE DENSITY IN THE CRANIUM IS EVIDENT.

    WOW, NOV 19 WAS A BAD DAY FOR YOU:I recommend for your health a bone density exam. Start between your ears. Now one more time for the hearing impaired.
    My Quotes: “And like I said, we have and will continue to make these necessary adjustments.”
    “So we as a union will add ANOTHER TIER to our retirement structure (We presently have 3). We are already doing what you want done.”

    Maybe it will sink in this time. One can only hope.

    HAD ENOUGH?

    OK, ONE MORE ON NOV 15:In my organization we have for years been adjusting the “formula” and have implemented a two and even three tier system into our retirement benefits. We understand that we must make adjustments accordingly and have.We have already done what you are trying to do with the CCFR proposition. And we are not alone. Every agency has a some type of agreement with their employer and these agreements are renewed on a yearly basis (And sometimes multiple years). We understand what the economic climate is and will be presented contract offers reflecting the changes needed to maintain services. We get it !

    IT’S NOT LOOKING GOOD FOR YOU HERE !

    THAT, along with elimination (or VERY signification reduction) in retiree healthcare

    I AM ALREADY PAYING FOR HEALTH CARE FOR LIFE FOR MY SPOUSE (A LOT OF AGENCIES AROUND ME INCLUDE THEIR SPOUSE’S HEALTH CARE FOR LIFE, NOT MINE) AND 25% OF MY SICK LEAVE IS TAKEN FOR HEALTH CARE WHEN I RETIRE.
    THERE’S NOT MUCH ROOM FOR “SIGNIFICANT” (SEE YOU CANT EVEN USE THE RIGHT WORDS HERE) REDUCTIONS.

    may just be sufficient to put a dent into solving this HUGH problem.

    NO THE SOLUTION TO SOLVING THIS PROBLEM HAS BEEN EXPLAINED ALSO.

    NOV 10:“The system” needs to be changed. That’s agreed upon. But your targeting the wrong group. The “big fish” are on Wall Street with their million dollar bonuses because they are “the best” and the wasteful spending from the Moron at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Add to that my own state (Calif) legislatures packing on the pork to an upcoming water bond initiative and you find the real corruption that fuels our rage. You get the point?
    NOV 15:By the way. What kind of retirement is your buddy Kieth Richman getting for his short time in the state legislature? A pension, health care,state insurance services ect… . Maybe your little agenda should include taking away these type of perks from has been politicians as well. Looks like your fearless leader may have something to fear after all.
    AND MOST RECENTLY : OUR RETIREMENTS REPRESENT A SMALL FRACTION OF THE STATE BUDGET. ELIMINATING WASTE AND FRAUD IN THE STATE BUDGET WOULD BE THE ANSWER TO THEIR (POLITICIANS) PROBLEMS. NOT TRYING TO BALANCE THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. LETS PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS. ON OPPORTUNISTIC POLITICIANS,WALL STREET GREED AND THE IMPACT OF CORPORATE EXCESSES ON STOCK MARKET PERFORMANCE.

    JUST DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND QUIT RESPONDING. ADMIT YOU ARE WHIPPED HERE. YOUR ARGUMENTS ARE LAME AND REPETITIVE. YOU NEVER ANSWER ANY OF MY QUESTIONS, YOU MISSPELL AND MISPRONOUNCE WORDS. JUST WHAT IS A “HUGH’ PROBLEM? GIVE IT UP TOUGH lOVE.
    BUT NO, BEING A FEMALE YOU WILL HAVE TO GET THE LAST WORD, THAT’S A GIVEN. LIKE I SAID “CRANIAL DENSITY”.

  51. Tough Love Says:

    Hi Again.

    OK, Lets make a deal ….

    You said ..”NOV 19: Word on the street is that our new contract will have provisions for creating even more tiers in our retirement benefits. This will involve some current employees. So if I vote for that contract you want me to call you?. Will that satisfy the requirement?.”

    You know what I feel is needed (pensions & benefit reductions for future years of service for CURRENT employees). Your statement above includes the words …” This will involve some current employees.” Please get back to me with exactly which Current employees will be impacted by this new tier, and what change will be made to their pension & benefits.

    I’m guessing that no change exists, or if a change exists, it is of miniscule monetary value.

    If you prove me wrong, I’ll apologize !

    ****************

    Moving on … you shouldn’t make statements such as … YOU MUST BE A FEMALE. THE BONE DENSITY IN THE CRANIUM IS EVIDENT… and … BUT NO, BEING A FEMALE YOU WILL HAVE TO GET THE LAST WORD, THAT’S A GIVEN. LIKE I SAID “CRANIAL DENSITY”. If you ever get accused of sexual discrimination, such written documentation of your bias may well be your undoing.

    *******************

    You keep making vague blanket statements re healthcare reductions. Please be specific .. ..

    Exactly what premium increases oe have retirees pick up ? Exactly what increase in copays, deductibles, or coinsurance have retirees picked up ? I’ll bet you cannot specifically identify even ONE.

    You say you pay for healthcare for you spouse. I’m assuming that means you do not pay anything for yourself. Why not ….NOBODY in the TAXPAYING Private Sector get free healthcare … so why should we pay for yours?

    ******************************************

    You said “25% OF MY SICK LEAVE IS TAKEN FOR HEALTH CARE WHEN I RETIRE.” I’m guessing that means you get to keep/cash-out the 75% balance. Guess what …Private Sector TAXPAYERS can’t “cash-out” a dime of unused sick leave (Private Sector employers aren”t so stupid as to allow this) … so why should we pay for yours ?

    ********************

    I agree that the “big fish” on wall street a a big (and VERY annoying) problem, but 1000 CEOs getting $1 Million extra (in pensions & retiree healthcare benefits) on average (totaling $1 Billion) won’t bankrupt the country, but 25 Million Civil Servants each getting $500,000 extra on average (total $12.5 Trillion) on average certainly Will.

  52. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    “You say you pay for healthcare for you spouse. I’m assuming that means you do not pay anything for yourself. Why not ….NOBODY in the TAXPAYING Private Sector get free healthcare … so why should we pay for yours?”
    Let’s just put it this way. Why don’t you and the like go tell the four families of the police officers killed today in a city near Tacoma Washington how they deserve a reduced pension. And a decrease in health care as well as salary reductions. Still want to know ” why should we pay for yours?”

    I’m not even wasting my time with your other questions. All the answers are in my previous post. Have your friend READ them to you!
    Are you just screwing with me here or are you really that stupid?

  53. Tough Love Says:

    Hollow there …

    Her’s an interesting article for you. The link to the full article is …http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/retirement-221490-pension-employees.html.

    I particularly like the 1-st and last paragraphs (they say it better than I can). Here’s the 1-st…

    When people have an entitlement mentality, enough is never enough. Even though government employees enjoy absurdly generous defined-benefit pensions that often allow them to retire with 80 percent to 90 percent of their final year’s pay guaranteed forever, employees game the system by taking advantage of various pension-spiking schemes.

    Here’s the last …

    Welcome to the world of government retirements – it’s no wonder the nation is drowning in a sea of unfunded liabilities.

  54. Tough Love Says:

    I found another article you might find interesting … here’s the heart of it (WELL SAID might I add):

    What has happened? The unions representing state and local government workers as well as firefighters, police, transit workers and others have become so powerful that politicians dare not cross them. They are organized and their members vote. That’s a combination that has created two tiered system with government workers on one elevated level and the rest of us below them:

    Government employees use various scams to boost their already generous benefits, which include fully paid health care and cost-of-living adjustments. The Sacramento Bee coined the term “chief’s disease,” for example, to refer to the 82 percent (in 2002) of chief’s-level employees at the California Highway Patrol who discovered a disabling injury about one year before retiring. That provides an extra year off work, with pay, and shields 50 percent of their final retirement pay from taxes. Most of these disabilities stem from back pain, knee pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and the like-not from taking bullets from bad guys. The disability numbers soared after CHP disbanded its fraud unit.

    As I document in my new book, Plunder!, government employees of all stripes have manipulated the system to spike their pensions. Because California bases pensions for employees on their final year’s salary, some workers move to other jurisdictions for just that final year to increase their pay and thus the pension. Even government employees convicted of on-the-job crimes continue to collect benefits. Municipalities have adopted Defined Retirement Option Plans, or DROPs, in which the employee earns his salary and his full defined-benefit retirement pay at the same time, with the retirement pay going into an account payable upon actual retirement. And as average Americans work longer to sustain themselves, public employees can retire in their early fifties with their plush benefits.

    Unfunded liabilities from these pension plans is in the trillions of dollars with taxpayers on the hook for the balance. It isn’t just “unsustainable.” It is a catastrophe waiting to happen. The entire system in California and other states could collapse if the stock market tanks again, as much of the pension money is invested in financial instruments – some of them incredibly risky.

    I imagine a few cities and perhaps a state or two will have to go bankrupt before anything concrete is done about the problem. But by then it may be too late for many states and localities as the tipping point is fast approaching and authorities seem helpless in the face of public employee union power to do anything about it.

  55. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    I’m holding up ONE finger, can you see it?

    Like I said, WELCOME TO AMERICA !!

  56. Tough Love Says:

    Its hard to defend your position against real facts, isn’t it.

  57. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    The real fact is. If you are not happy with your pension/retirement package at your job,then go get a real job that has better benefits. Don’t spew some rhetoric out of some book an idiot wrote. I don’t give a shit what some author thinks. You call that crap “facts”.

    Like I said, WELCOME TO AMERICA !! That’s the way it is girlfriend.
    And changes will come, but not the changes you are looking for.

    Do you ever quit whining?

  58. Tough Love Says:

    You need to calm down … you may give yourself a heart attack.

  59. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Yeah, you’re right. Since I am at a higher risk for a heart attack (due to my job) I guess I should chill. And since this risk translates into a shortened retirement then I guess the taxpayer wins. The private sector employees have a longer retirements than mine and save the money that I do not collect.
    Now refresh my memory here. What is it you have to bitch about?

  60. Tough Love Says:

    Sounds like you didn’t see the recent study results. CalPERS just acknowledged that policemen and firemen (together, as they couldn’t separate the results for the 2 groups) live just as long in retirement as non-safety workers.

    I guess it debunks another myth used by safety workers to justify their grossly excessive retirement pensions.

  61. Tough Love Says:

    I figured you wouldn’t believe me, so I Googled one of the many articles. Here’s the “facts”: (Ok, so what’s your NEXT justification for your excessive taxpayer-funded pension & health benefits ?)

    *****************************************

    CalPERS actuary David Lamoureux sent me a CalPERS presentation called “Preparing for Tomorrow,” from the retirement fund’s 2008 educational forum. The presentation features various “pension myth busters.”

    Here is Myth #4 (presented as part of a Power Point presentation): “Safety members do not live as long as miscellaneous members.” CalPERS officials explain that “rumor has it that safety members only live a few years after retirement.” Actuarial data answers the question: “Do they actually live for a shorter time?” The presentation considers the competing facts: “Safety members tend to have a more physically demanding job, this could lead to a shorter life expectancy. However, miscellaneous members sit at their desk and might be more at risk to accumulating table muscle!” Fire officials, by the way, make identical claims about dying as early as police officials.

    For answers, CalPERS looked at an experience study conducted by its actuarial office in 2004. It looked at post-retirement mortality data for public safety officials and compared it to mortality rates for miscellaneous government workers covered by the CalPERS system.

    Here are the CalPERS life expectancy data for miscellaneous members:

    — If the current age is 55, the retiree is expected to live to be 81.4 if male, and 85 if female.
    — If the current age is 60, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82 if male, and 85.5 if female.
    — If the current age is 65, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82.9 if male, and 86.1 if female.

    Here is the CalPERS life expectancy data for public safety members (police and fire, which are grouped together by the pension fund):

    — If the current age is 55, the retiree is expected to live to be 81.4 if male, and 85 if female.
    — If the current age is 60, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82 if male, and 85.5 if female.
    — If the current age is 65, the retiree is expected to live to be age 82.9 if male, and 86.1 if female.

    That’s no mistake. The numbers for public safety retirees are identical to those of other government workers. As CalPERS notes, average public safety officials retiree earlier than average miscellaneous members, so they receive their higher level of benefits for a much longer time.

  62. Tough Love Says:

    From the Modesto Bee ……… interesting comments ……. and just what I have been advocating for … a pension reduction for CURRENT employees (and lots more).

    *****************************************

    There isn’t much to be done about retirees; they’re laughing all the way to the bank, unless (until?) the county goes bankrupt. As for current county folk, it seems to be conventional wisdom that these incredibly “generous” (if not fiscally irresponsible) pension arrangements are untouchable, immutable, chiseled in granite.

    Are we certain of this? In times of fiscal duress, is it not possible to put elements of a current retirement calculation on the negotiating table? It’s been suggested that, for future county hires, pension benefits should be calculated on the average base salary during the last three years of the employee’s service.

    Fine, something like that will probably happen. Is there any reason it shouldn’t be at least explored for current employees? It’ll be argued that this could wreak hardship on county employees at the lower end of the food chain — say, a longtime hourly worker, approaching retirement, whose post- employment calculations would be shattered by such a change.

    In another context (automatic cost-of-living adjustments, a different, though not unrelated, subject), Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers’ Association suggests a tiered system, distinguishing between highly compensated retirees and others.

    In terms of spiking, could it not be disallowed for those whose base pension benefit will exceed a certain amount — say $50,000 per year, just to throw a figure out there — but be retained for other current employees?

    One thing this should do is end the chorus of “Well, we just have to be competitive with both other municipalities as well as the private sector.” Guess what: Those “other municipalities” are in the same financial doo-doo as we are, and they ain’t hiring.

    And as for that “private sector” straw man, if you can find an outfit with a pension setup like our county’s, you’d be advised to avoid it — because it likely won’t be around a year from now.

    And if it turns out there’s nothing to be done? Well, there is a practice employed by certain religious communities to deal with pariahs. It’s called “shunning,” and perhaps it ought to be considered.

  63. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    “I figured you wouldn’t believe me, so I Googled one of the many articles. Here’s the “facts”: (Ok, so what’s your NEXT justification for your excessive taxpayer-funded pension & health benefits ?)”

    That’s an easy one. I can pass the test and you can’t.
    See I answered ANOTHER one of your questions. Unlike you !

    Anyone can copy and paste “facts” from publications all over the country supporting their side. I could do the same. But because I am smarter than you (I passed the test, you didn’t) I do not need to bore you with some printed rhetoric. I can speak for myself. Can you? No, all you can do is whine.
    And why am I smarter? Well who’s the one that has what you want?
    And to be honest, I am not even reading your post any more. If I wanted to read a paper I would buy one.

  64. Tough Love Says:

    They why do you KEEP comming back ?

  65. Tough Love Says:

    Out of curiosity I Googled for LA county sample Police exam questions. Below are the first 6 on their sample test. Anyone with an IQ above 75 (near retarded) should easily be able get answer all questions correctly.

    1) The United Nations, an international body of nations, was established after World War II in an effort to promote world peace.
    A) The legacy of World War II
    B) The Founding of the United Nations
    C) Promoting World Peace
    D) International Organizations

    2) Crowd participants frequently act in a manner that would be unacceptable to the individual members under normal circumstances.
    A) Defining a Crowd
    B) Crowd Control
    C) Crowd Psychology
    D) How Riots Evolve

    Items 3 and 4 consist of a brief passage and four paraphrases, labeled, A, B, C, and D. Read the passage and the paraphrases. Then select the paraphrase that is closest in meaning to the original passage.

    3) The park’s pony rides are restricted to children under 10 who weigh no more than 60 pounds. According to this statement
    A) children over 10 are too heavy to ride the ponies.
    B) any child who weighs less than 60 pounds is permitted to ride the ponies.
    C) a child who is large for his age will not be permitted to ride the ponies.
    D) a child who weighs less than 60 pounds may ride the ponies if he is not yet 10.

    4) Although the customers believed that the proprietor was wrong, they realized that they would gain nothing by arguing; so they left. According to this statement, the customers left because they
    A) were tired of discussing the matter.
    B) felt that nothing they could say would sway the proprietor.
    C) could not prove that the proprietor was wrong.
    D) considered the proprietor to be too stubborn to listen to reason.

    Items 5 and 6 consist a conclusion and five statements, labeled A, B, C, D and E. Four of the five statements, as a unit, help to support the conclusion and one does not. For each item, select the statement that LEAST helps to support the conclusion.

    5) Conclusion: Canned peaches taste better than dehydrated peaches.
    A) 75% of the peaches that the Associated Food Distributors buy are canned peaches and 25% are dehydrated peaches.
    B) Canned peaches comprise 50% of the market; whereas, peaches that are frozen comprise only 20% of the market.
    C) The International Society of Fruit and Nut Growers has rated canned peaches and dehydrated peaches third and fourth respectively on the list of best tasting forms in which peaches are sold.
    D) Associated Food Distributors usually purchase more peaches in the forms that are better tasting.
    E) Peaches distributed in their three best tasting forms are sweet and juicy.

    6) Conclusion: Rotary-type lawn mowers are a better buy for your money than are reel-type lawn mowers.
    A) New reel-type lawn mowers generally cost $200 to $300; whereas, new rotary type-lawn mowers cost $100 to $250.
    B) Replacement of a rotary blade costs $5; whereas, replacement of a reel blade costs $40.
    C) Research into lawn mower safety has led to an improvement in safety by 30% for rotary-type mowers and by 20% for reel-type mowers.
    D) Although engine specifications differ from model to model, both rotary-type mowers and reel-type mowers are equipped with equally durable and reliable engines.
    E) Although there are cost differences between the two types of mowers, the rotary-type mowers cut as well as do the reel-type mowers.

  66. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Once again without reading something I know you copy and pasted. (I guess that makes you the retarded one here). I did read the first paragraph. You are not worth my time. If you can not assemble your own arguments then please discontinue this blog. If you are not smart enough to get a job like mine then please quit whining about my benefits.
    By the way are you blogging while your on the job? Another benefit of the private sector. Now stop playing and get back to work!

  67. Tough Love Says:

    Yup, I cut & pasted the grade-school level entrance exam to get your job.

    Excellent pay and EXTRAORIDNARY benefits based on an entrance exam most eight graders could ace …. now that’s pathetic.

  68. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    But I guess you couldn’t pass that test or you would have “Excellent pay and EXTRAORIDNARY benefits” for yourself.
    And then maybe, just maybe you would stop your whining.

    I wish tragedy on no one.And I hope you never need the services of my brothers in the police and fire departments of your community.
    I just hope you do not have to personally experience their dedication to appreciate them and what they do. But if you do, I guarantee you their “Excellent pay and EXTRAORIDNARY benefits” will be the furthest thing on your mind.
    Guaranteed !

  69. Tough Love Says:

    Just a spirited difference of opinion.

    Merry Christmas …. seriously.

  70. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Back at ya. Have a Happy Ho Ho Season yourself.

  71. Joe Pensioner Says:

    You cry babies are at it again. tough love, I see your still sticking your nose into our business, where it doesn’t belong. You have a lot of nerve talking like you do when you don’t even live in California and obviously have never held a safety position with the State of California. You crybabies insist on screwing with retirement formulas that have been approved by SB (Senate Bill) 400 in 1999. If anybody deserves a good retirement, it’s the Police who have protected your ass all these years, not to mention the Firefighters, Caltrans, Dept. of Corrections (just to name a few). If you guys are allowed to undo SB 400, which was passed by the California Legislature, Governor and the employee unions, what’s to stop you people from trying to lower it again? We have fought to hard over the years to get where we’re at. The only reason people are crying about our pensions now, is because of the economic downturn. The money grubbing private sector is crying because they’re 401k’s are tanking and now they’re jealous of us. If the economy was fine, people aren’t even concerned with public pensions. The first thing that will happen, is people will no longer apply for these dangerous jobs that we count on filling. You people will keep chipping away until there’s nothing left. That’s why the unions will spend $100,000,000 to defeat any such attempt of reducing any benefits that we have worked hard for, earned and deserve. I’d like to see any of these crybabies handle a safety job. Most could not do it. Most are a bunch of pencil pushers and/or paper shufflers like tough love……she sits behind a computer in another State and complains about what’s happening in California. They have no clue what’s it’s like to risk there lives for the people of California.

  72. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    I say “harupmh” to Joe Pensioners post.

    Side note: A few nights back someone posted on here with a mixed up foreign language comment. I posted a reply, but both post were deleted.
    Anyone in the “blog management department” wish to reply?

  73. Mad Taxpayer Says:

    Don’t you just love it when people respond?

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