Poll: Many Californians Deem Public Workers’ Pensions Too Generous
A growing number of Californians think that pensions for state and local government employees are too generous, and most respondents to a poll support reducing such benefits, according to a new Field Poll, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports (Gang, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/17).
The poll -- which was conducted with UC-Berkeley and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points -- surveyed 898 registered voters between Feb. 28 and March 14.
Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents said they want government union members to contribute more each month to health benefits (Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/17).
According to the poll:
- 73% of respondents said they favored creating a limit or salary cap when public workers' benefits are calculated;
- 46% said labor unions do more good than harm;
- 42% said they believed public retirement benefits are too high, compared with less than a third who thought the same two years ago (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/17); and
- 34% said such benefits are about right (Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 3/17).
The Little Hoover Commission -- an independent state oversight agency -- recently released a report stating that current state and local pension benefits are unaffordable.
Taxpayers would have to pay $240 billion in unfunded pension costs for former and current workers in the 10 largest state and local plans, according to the commission.
The agency recommended freezing the benefits for current employees (Woolfolk, San Jose Mercury News, 3/17).
Poll Finds Support for Commission's Recommendations
The Field Poll found that most California residents back the commission's proposals (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/17).
Specifically, 56% of respondents to the Field Poll support the Little Hoover Commission's suggestion to put in place a new pension system similar to a 401(k) program (Sacramento Bee, 3/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.