Republican Lawmakers Support Gov. Brown’s Pension Reform Plan
On Wednesday, Republican legislators in California introduced a series of bills that closely match Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) 12-point pension reform plan and urged Democrats to support the legislation, the Los Angeles Times reports (Mishak, Los Angeles Times, 2/23).
Earlier this month, Brown released a detailed plan that would end traditional pensions for state and local government workers hired after June 2013. The plan includes statutory language on health benefits available to retired state workers.
The proposal would implement "hybrid" plans that combine typical payouts with a 401(k)-style component for workers hired July 1, 2013, or later.
The plan also calls for:
- Basing pension benefits on a 36-month average of a worker's wages;
- Adding an independent health benefit expert and a representative from a contracting agency to the CalPERS board -- both appointed by Brown; and
- Requiring 25 years of service for new hires to receive 100% of the state's retiree health benefits (California Healthline, 2/16).
GOP members reiterated Brown's concerns about growing pension obligationsÂ for current and future retired state workers.
Assembly member Connie Conway (R-Tulare) -- leader of the Assembly's Republican caucus -- said, "Today we are stepping up to the plate, showing Republicans are united behind the governor's plan." Conway added, "Now it's up to the governor to get the Democrats on board" (Los Angeles Times, 2/23).Â
Republicans said Brown sent proposed bill language to the Legislature several weeks ago, but Democrats had not formally introduced legislation (Mishak, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 2/22).
A coalition of public worker unions said that the bills are a political maneuver by the GOP rather than a genuine sign of support for Brown's reform plan.
Democrats have said they plan to review Brown's plan in a bipartisan committee -- which will hold its final meeting next week -- before offering recommendations for pension reform legislation.
Assembly member Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) said that Democrats are trying to "be thoughtful and measured" in their approach to Brown's plan to develop "good policy."
Evan Westrup -- a spokesperson for Brown -- said, "We will continue to work with the Legislature to enact serious reforms" (Los Angeles Times, 2/23).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.