Report on Costs of Retiree Health Benefits Falls Short
On Tuesday, an appointed commission released a report finding that California's state and local governments face an unfunded liability of at least $118 billion over the next 30 years to fund health care benefits for current and future retirees.
The commission recommended that California set aside $1.2 billion in the fiscal year 2008-2009 budget to begin reducing the liability (California Healthline, 1/9).
Summaries of editorials reacting to the report appear below.
- Los Angeles Times: "The problem with" the report is that it "relies on self-analysis by local governments, many of which leaven their financial projections with prayerful assertions that health care costs are bound to taper off someday," a Times editorial states. "The tougher conversation about benefits must still take place," the editorial states. "In the meantime, the report offers a hopeful glimpse of what [Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R)] era of post-partisanship could yet achieve despite its bitterly disappointing first year," the editorial states (Los Angeles Times, 1/10).
- Sacramento Bee: The commission is "right to call upon the state, local governments and school districts to start saving money now to pay for the cost," a Bee editorial states. However, the "commission utterly failed to ask politicians to do what will be necessary to address this growing retiree benefits crisis: Demand sacrifice from public employee unions," the editorial states, adding, "If government services and taxpayers are to be protected, this union gravy train has got to be derailed" (Sacramento Bee, 1/10).