Sacramento, Calif. - By the end of the decade, millions of California workers could be enrolled automatically in a state-run retirement program viewed by proponents as the most significant attempt to address golden-years poverty since the New Deal.
After more than two years of work, the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Board will vote Monday on a slate of recommendations to the Legislature on what a state-managed plan should look like. Those will be folded into pending legislation by Senate leader Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, with the goal of putting a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk this summer.
Although its 2014-15 budget was balanced, California’s state government ended the fiscal year $175.1 billion in the red, thanks largely to state retirement obligations that had to be included in its balance sheet for the first time.
Under new rules by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, state and local governments must list unfunded pension liabilities as debts alongside the more traditional bonds and other forms of debt.
Nearing the finish line in the biggest scandal in CalPERS’ history, California officials accepted $20 million to settle civil charges over the bribery case that has hounded the giant pension fund for years.
Arvco Capital Research, a defunct Nevada investment bank owned by late financier Alfred Villalobos, agreed to pay the state $20 million to resolve a state lawsuit accusing Villalobos and his firm of bribing officials at CalPERS. The sum includes $10 million in attorneys’ fees
Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of nationally recognized pension reformers today announced the launch of the Retirement Security Initiative (RSI), a national, bipartisan advocacy organization focused on helping state and local governments meet their pension obligations and avoid insolvency. Spearheading the group's efforts are: former Utah State Senator Dan Liljenquist; former Lt. Governor of New York Richard Ravitch; former Mayor of San Jose Chuck Reed; former CFO of Chicago Lois Scott; and financial restructuring expert Jim Spiotto.
Measure to curb California public pensions is pulled – for now
Sacramento Bee, Jan. 19, 2016
Beleaguered by fundraising doubts and attacks from organized labor, two former California officials said Monday they are backing off plans to place a measure on the November ballot intended to curb public pension benefits.
Instead, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio said in a joint announcement, “We have decided to re-file at least one of our pension reform measures later this year for the November 2018 ballot.”
Reed said in a telephone interview that he is disappointed but undeterred. Professional fundraisers and potential donors, he said, believed that economics, politics and a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision would strengthen the likelihood of passing a pension measure in two years.
Sacramento Bee, Jan. 13, 2016 -- State and local public union officials plowed through a 100-page U.S. Supreme Court transcript on Monday, trying to divine how the nine justices are leaning in a case with the potential to tie a knot in the pipeline of money that feeds their treasuries.
While the outcome of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association could end compulsory payments to government unions, maintain the status quo or fall somewhere in between, the labor leaders interviewed by The Sacramento Bee remained optimistic regardless of the outcome that their associations would adapt.
“We’ll continue to exist,” said Dave Low, executive director of the California School Employees Association, “but it would weaken us.”
Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio announced they will not be circulating for signatures the pension initiative they previously announced earlier this year while promising to announce two more pension initiatives. The decision reflects, again, that Reed and company can't "handle the truth" about their pension schemes. Impact of Reed/DeMaio Pension Measures on New Public Employees
The California State Retirees Health Benefits Committee is calling for CalPERS to extend open enrollment for retirees this year because changes in Medicare health plan offerings were not adequately explained in time for members to make informed decisions by the Oct. 9 enrollment deadline.
CalPERS mailed out Health Plan Statements in August to help members review the increases or decreases in their providers’ 2016 rates and determine whether they want to make changes.
The biggest change for many state retirees in 2016 will be the new Medicare Advantage Plan, which was adopted by the CalPERS Board of Administration in an effort to improve member health and wellness, while lowering the costs of member health care.
More than 200 people participated in a webinar with CalPERS and UnitedHealthcare officials Aug. 19 in an effort to answer many of the questions surrounding the UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage PPO plan, which becomes the single provider of health services for four of the CalPERS Medicare Advantage plans in 2016.
The plans that will no longer be available to CalPERS Medicare members are Blueshield, Anthem HMO, Health Net and Sharp.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has reached a tentative deal with a key employee union that would require state engineers to contribute toward their retirement health care benefits, likely establishing a template that will be applied to other state employee unions to help reduce a growing financial liability.
Under the three-year agreement, which still must be ratified by the union’s members and the Democratic-dominated Legislature, the Professional Engineers in California Government in mid-2017 would have to begin paying one-half of 1 percent of their pre-tax salaries into a fund to chip away at the fiscal millstone.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) has named Doug McKeever the new Deputy Executive Officer (DEO) for Benefit Programs Policy and Planning.
McKeever, who has [Read More...]
This is a video from CalPERS detailing the UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage PPO Plan. Read more to view the video at your leasure and learn more about the plan.
Along with taxation and immigration, one political issue that never seems to go away is the cost of public employees, especially their pensions.
Public retirement plans are consistently blamed for local and state budget woes. Any time a community runs into fiscal trouble, its workers are among the first to be demonized, and often bear the brunt of the remedies. After all, pension obligations are typically among the largest liabilities any government entity must bear, so why not hack away?
In California, pension overhaul proposals have become a perennial feature of state and local ballot campaigns. Failed proposals were aimed at the statewide ballot twice in the last four years, and the proponents of the last effort, in 2014, have started the ball rolling for a new measure.
Proponents of a California ballot initiative requiring pension changes to go through a public vote on Tuesday rejected Attorney General Kamala Harris’ official description of the measure as an attempt “to try to mislead the public.”
For every ballot measure, the attorney general’s office issues a short name and description to appear on the petitions that backers use to get signatures. Because it is often the entry point for voters to understand what’s in a ballot initiative, the wording carries high stakes.
By Dave Low, chair of Californians for Retirement Security
In their never-ending effort to force-feed warmed-over political ideas to a skeptical public, the pension attackers are back, using new poll-tested language and focus-grouped talking points to undermine retirement security for millions of working families.
Under the Orwellian moniker of the “Voter Empowerment Act,” former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio and their anti-pension cohorts are proposing nothing short of gutting the public employee pension system – one of the last bastions of middle-class economic security.
They are falsely selling their proposed ballot measure as a potential cut in pensions for new employees. In reality, it could cut or eliminate pensions earned by current employees for future work.
In an email to journalists and election officials, David Crane arrives at a false conclusion with his claim that CalPERS unfunded actuarial liability (UAL) will continue to grow unless the system achieves a return of at least 9.7%, not the 7.5% CalPERS currently assumes.
The following PDF is a list of bills that CSR is supporting, opposing or watching.