Thursday, August 20, 2009

California State and Local Government Pensions

The list is long.
There are 5,115 retired California government workers currently receiving pensions in excess of $100,000 per year, from the California Public Employees Retirement System.

What happened to our beautiful state? Well... In 1999, heavily pushed by the unions, the California legislature passed a bill, that not only increased retirement benefits for public employees, but lowered the retirement age and applied the increased benefits retroactively.

Why is California's economic future so bleak? One reason is public employees are retiring as young as 50 and 55. Some are collecting as much as 100% of their salary, annual cost of living raises and lifetime health care benefits. And it's not uncommon to see the same retirees go back to work for the same public agency that they worked for in the first place. Double dipping, as it were.

The Democrats do the bidding of the cubical workers, those state employees, and the Republicans do the bidding of the police and the fire and the prison guards. So one public employees union or another owns just about everybody in Sacramento, along with most cities and county's in the state.

Public sector employees earn about 40% higher salaries and 60% greater benefits than private sector employees. Since California is the only state in the nation that bases it's pensions on it's single highest earning year, the estimated unfunded liabilities for retirement benefits, just for state employees alone, exceeds $100 billion. Most cities and counties in California are now paying between 15% and 20% of their entire budget just to pay for retirement benefits.

The bankrupt L.A. Unified School District (LAUSD), will be spending nearly 1/3 of their budget on unfunded liability retirement benefits between pension and retiree health care. To compensate for this, the L.A. Unified School District may be able to raise the property taxes on you, L.A. County and L.A. Unified School District homeowners. To further burden the taxpayer, L.A. Unified has undertaken a huge school building project. Over 100 new schools will be built at the cost of $20.1 billion. With enrollment dropping close to 7% since the start of the decade, (it's estimated over 100,000 empty seats will exist in the LAUSD by the year 2012), this boondoggle will be of massive proportion. A year ago, the LAUSD convinced voters to vote for Bond Measure Q. Get ready for another tax assault, L.A. homeowners. They buried some sort of tax provision in Measure Q which might allow the LAUSD to almost double your property taxes!

The estimates for pensions and retirement benefits could take up to 10% of the state budget. The yearly cost for state employees pensions in 2001, was about $160 million. The current annual cost for state pensions in California is now estimated at $3.4 billion. That's only for pension costs, that doesn't include the retiree health care costs in which the state of California owes right around $60 billion.

Because of this irreversible decision, made by these thieving politicians, in cahoots with the unions 10 years ago, cities and counties may be forced to go bankrupt. These retirement plans, cooked up by the crooks in Sacramento and the unions, are clearly unsustainable. Lets hope not, but unless a reversal of spending is achieved soon, this travesty may be what topples California into a wasteland.