March 30, 2011

THE WINNING HAND:

Republicans seize on public pension issue (Dan Morain, 3/27/11, sacbee.com)

[Dan] Pellissier worked 18 years for various state agencies and elected officials, most recently as deputy Cabinet secretary, a post he left in January when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger departed. He is halfway through burning up six months of accrued vacation and unused furlough days, with pay courtesy of you and me.

Like many state employees, Pellissier bought "air time," paying a little to boost his pension by a lot. When he turns 55 in five years, he will start collecting about $5,000 a month – $60,000 a year – half of his highest salary.

"I'm going to get a great pension," Pellissier said over a plate of ham and eggs. "A great, unsustainable and unfair pension."

Not that he feels guilty, but Pellissier does have a mission: drastically altering the pension system for all state and local government employees in California, ones hired in the future and ones currently on the job.

Pellissier has been advising Republican legislators as they demand that Brown place pension reform before voters, in exchange for any agreement to a statewide vote on a Brown-backed measure to extend $11 billion in taxes.

Details of the GOP's concept are not public. But if their plan mirrors Pellissier's ideas, it's obvious why Brown refuses. There is no way public employee union leaders, Democrats' main benefactors, ever would consent. And Republicans don't see much reason to settle. Public opinion seems to be on their side.


Posted by at March 30, 2011 5:57 AM
  

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