Pension Reform

Public pensions have been under attack for several years now. Public pensions have traditionally been classified as “defined benefit” plans that provide life-long fixed retirement benefits based on the employees’ final compensation, age and years of service. Many of the public pension plans include a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) so retirees’ income can keep up with inflation. Also, many public employees pay into and receive Social Security benefits when they retire.

Over the last 30 years, “private sector” employers have eliminated defined benefit plans for their workers, some replaced with defined contribution plans-primarily the 401(k) plan.   There is clearly a pension envy factor that has now developed as the do-it-yourself underfunded 401(k) plans are proving to be a failure while public sector retirees continue to receive a guaranteed stream of retirement income.   Some of the concerns identified by those who attack public pensions include the current retirement systems’ funding levels that were impacted by the world-wide 2007-08 financial crisis. Another prime area of concern relates to the “spiking” of pensions by some public employees that resulted in increased pensions at time of retirement.

Governor Brown tried to legislatively correct some of these problems in public pensions and in September 2012 he signed the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA) that took effect on January 1, 2013. PEPRA requirements also apply to all of the counties covered under 1937 Act provisions, like Sacramento County.

The state-wide California Retired County Employees Association (CRCEA) includes all 20 counties that operate under the 1937 Act provisions. One of your SCREA representatives, Mike DeBord, is the Co-Chair of the CRCEA Retirement Security Committee. This committee has researched many topics on retirement security, published papers on these topics, lobbied State legislators, testified at the State Capitol, and made several presentations at both individual county retiree association functions and State-wide association conferences. You may have read some of the articles on retirement security that are being published in County retiree newsletters.

Below are some of the key articles:

Click Below To Download The “A Train Wreck In The Making” Document (PDF):

Click Below To Download The Legislative Hearing Letter Document (PDF):

Click Below To Download The Testimony At Legislative Hearing Document (PDF):