California Attorney General Kamala Harris Tuesday cleared for circulation Carl Maio‘s pension reform initiative, but it quickly faced criticism from public employee unions.
The initiative authored by DeMaio, a former San Diego City Councilman and Congressional candidate, and former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed would give voters the final say on compensation and pension benefits for state and local government employees.
“Costly government pension deals are devastating our public services—and this simple initiative gives voters the ability to stop sweetheart and unsustainable pension deals that politicians concoct behind closed doors with government union bosses,” said DeMaio and Reed in a statement. “We are very confident the voters will understand the plain English requirements of this measure and overwhelmingly pass it in November 2016.”
Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, said his organization representing 1.6 million pubic employees views the measure as “a back-door way of repealing Constitutionally-vested and promised rights to retirement security and health care” for government employees.
“We strongly disagree with the attorney feneral’s elimination of the specific mention of teachers, nurses, police and firefighters in the title and summary,” Low said. “They are the bulk of the public servants whose retirement security and death and disability benefits would be abolished by this heavy-handed measure.”
DeMaio and Reed’s Reform California organization describes what the ballot measure would do as:
- Require voter approval of any defined-benefit pensions for new government employees;
- Require voter approval of any increase in pensions for existing government employees;
- Prohibit any taxpayer subsidy of government retirement benefits in excess of 50% of the cost—unless voters expressly approve a higher contribution
- Prohibit politicians and government agencies from delaying, impeding, or challenging any voter-approved state and local ballot measures regarding government compensation and benefits.
The next step in their campaign is to kick-off a signature drive to qualify the measure.
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