California lawmakers approved the broadest rollback of public-employee pension benefits in the state’s history after Governor Jerry Brown and Democrats who control the Legislature struck a last-minute deal.
The overhaul, which may save taxpayers as much as $55 billion over 30 years, would require new employees to pay half the cost of their benefits and work longer before they can retire. It also reduces formulas for calculating benefits and caps pension payments.
“This is not the end-all, be-all, but it brings us considerably down the road to public-pension reform,” said Assemblyman Warren Furutani, the Long Beach Democrat who headed a conference committee that drafted the legislation.
The bill, which passed the Assembly 48-8, was approved 36-1 in the Senate on the last day of the legislative session. The governor has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the legislation, or it becomes law without his signature.
The measure would require new state and local government employees under the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, or Calpers, the largest public pension in the U.S., to pay for half of their benefits. The same savings will be sought from current employees through bargaining with their unions.