Pension Wars Will Be Fought At City Hall
Breathe a deep sigh of relief now that state legislators have headed home. As Judge Gideon Tucker (and also attributed to Mark Twain) exclaimed, “No man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” You are safer now than you were a little over a week ago.
The real issues of reform now shift from the weird world of Sacramento to California’s cities and counties. Even legislators in the craziest of them – San Francisco obviously comes to mind – are more likely to pass needed reforms than those in the state Capitol, where interest-group politics trumps everything else.
Even though Stanford University research pins California’s public-employee pension debt at up to an unfathomable half-trillion dollars, no pension reform measure of substance passed the Legislature. Such crucial bills are nonstarters there, although the Democratic leadership did issue a press release promising unspecific pension reform. This says pension reform is such a hot topic that even its enemies need to pretend to support it.