Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed leads pension reform intiative.

LOS ANGELES — Carl DeMaio, a former Republican San Diego City council member, and Democrat Chuck Reed, the former San Jose mayor, filed paperwork Thursday for a statewide ballot initiative to curtail compensation and pension benefits of state and local government employees.

"The cost of public employee pension benefits continues to skyrocket across California, crowding out funding for important services such as police, fire, schools, and road repairs," Reed said in a prepared statement.

The latest iteration of pension reform in California would require voter approval of pension benefits for any new government employees and any increases in benefits to existing workers.

It would also prohibit taxpayers from subsidizing more than 50% of government retirement benefit costs, unless voter approved.

The initiative provides a "check" on state and local politicians by explicitly affirming the ability of voters to reform government employee compensation and retirement benefits, according to DeMaio.

It would also prohibit politicians and government agencies from delaying, impeding, or challenging any voter-approved state and local ballot measures regarding compensation and retirement benefits.

"California's politicians have chosen tax hikes and draconian service cuts to divert taxpayer money for unsustainable and indefensible government pension payouts, which is exactly why we must empower voters with this initiative to get reform done," DeMaio said.

Others supporting the initiative include former San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, a Democrat, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, a Republican, former Vallejo Vice Mayor Stephanie Gomes, and Pacific Grove Mayor Bill Kampe, a Democrat. The Ventura County Taxpayers Association also participated in the effort.

The attorney general's office must approve the title and the summary of a proposed measure before backers can seek signatures. Because it is a constitutional amendment, backers must submit 585,407 valid signatures from California voters to qualify it for the ballot in 2016, according to the Secretary of State's office.

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