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Legislative News

Reed and DeMaio propose a new attack on pensions

Posted: 6/17/2015 Tags: benefits pension retirement Tags Views: 2112

Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio are back and are dishing out another attack on pensions. Their newest measure, released June 4, 2015, is called “The Voter Empowerment Act of 2016” and it would allow for voters to make adjustments to future pension plans without political interference. Essentially, it would shift all new public employees from the various defined-benefit plans currently in place to 401(k) plans and lock them in place beginning 2019. Voters would then be able to vote on pension enhancements and whether to continue offering traditional pensions after 2019.

Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, swiftly reacted by calling the measure as “yet another destined-to-fail attempt to eliminate the retirement security of public employees”. Labor leaders contest that this measure will be tied up in the courts for years and cost Reed and DeMaio an estimated $30 million to mount a credible campaign against an opposition that has vowed to spend twice that to defeat it.

As always, ACSS intends to stand up for the rights of state excluded employees and oppose pension reform. Your pension is your rightfully defined benefit that should not be diminished or modified. We will continue to monitor this issue and provide updates as they occur.

Click here to read more about this proposed measure in an article from the San Diego Free Press.


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Bottom Line on the Budget: Administration Drops the HSA and Other Trailer Bill Objectives

Posted: 6/5/2015 Tags: bargaining budget health policy retirement Tags Views: 1240

ACSS has consistently pushed back on the “equal sharing” (50/50) of costs between employee and the state for funding retiree healthcare. We are pleased to report that on Friday June 5, the Administration agreed to drop language in the trailer bill requiring equal sharing of costs for retiree healthcare (as defined in Section 11 of the amended trailer bill). ACSS was concerned that 50/50 cost sharing would be implemented statutorily. We are declaring victory that this item is NOT becoming statue and is being dropped altogether from the budget. The Legislature has been supportive of our request to keep health care proposals out of state budget trailer bill language completely.

In addition, this week the Brown Administration tossed out the CalPERS high deductible health care plan. The Administration realized that without a high deductible plan, there is little use for an HSA. In addition, the Administration also removed some trailer bill language that applies to new hire’s formula for retiree healthcare plans, increases the vesting period for new hires, and removes some language in reference to Medicare reimbursements. The Administration has decided to drop these objectives from the budget and instead, pursue them in bargaining. Battling it out with the bargaining units may take months, which means that implementation for managers and supervisors may be drawn out even further.

The amended trailer bill language:

  • requires verification of eligible health care plan participants
  • defines, in more detail, the prefunding of employee contributions
  • lists requirements that CalPERS report to the Department of Finance on costs and status of health care plans
  • sets a lock on the state retiree health account until 2046

At this point, we can conclude that these objectives are the bottom line adjustments to the budget from the Administration.


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Budget Proposal Aims to End "Six-Month Vacancy" Illegal Position Shuffling

Posted: 5/20/2015 Tags: budget jobs policy politics salary Tags Views: 1286

 

Jerry Brown's 2015-16 budget proposes a plan to wipe out an existing law that requires departments to eliminate state positions that go empty for six months. Departments have been deceptively manipulating personnel to inflate salary budgets and use money for other expenses. By shuffling around staff and making it appear that these positions are still being used, the positions are not eliminated and the department retains their funding.  A series of investigations and audits are bringing transparency to this issue and are putting a stop to all the unnecessary shuffling.  Read more on this issue in the full SacBee article.


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May Budget Revision Reveals More Money Than Previously Predicted

Posted: 5/15/2015 Tags: budget health pension retirement Tags Views: 1301

Image courtesy of www.StockMonkeys.com 

Compared to the January Budget, in the May Revise, released on 5/14, Governor Brown disclosed $6.7 billion more dollars available to put to use for 2015-16. While this is good news that there is more money available, the vast majority of it will go to public elementary schools, lower-income households, the rainy day fund, CSU and the UC school system (to cover pension debt). Very little of the May Revise was new material for state workers, and revealed more depth of the same proposals we have already known about.

On the hot topic of heathcare and retirement, the Administration continues to move forward with their more cohesive “3-pronged approach” to managing the $72 billion unfunded liability. 1) Prefunding retiree healthcare is most certainly pushing forward. 2) Newly hired state employees will be required to work longer to receive retirement compensation. And 3) more affordable healthcare plans (hinting towards HSA plans) will be implemented. Again, these concepts are not new, but they are becoming more concrete into an impending reality.

As for civil service, the May Revise proposes $57 million in new state employee compensation and reduces contributions to CalPERS down by $110 million. Proof that pension reform is indeed working. It also reiterated the proposals to streamline classifications, abolish vacant positions and broaden recruitment efforts in civil service.

Click here to download the official full version of the May Revise.


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Myths vs. Facts on CalPERS Pensions, Investments, Health Care, and More!

Posted: 5/13/2015 Tags: health pension policy retirement Tags Views: 1416

CalPERS has provided a list of Myths versus Facts to address common misconceptions.  Test your knowledge on the following CalPERS issues related to pensions, investments, accountability, ethics, and health care. 

MYTH -or- FACT? Most Police and firefighters retire at age 50 with 90 percent of pay.

MYTH -or- FACT? CalPERS doesn't promote a public pension database so it can hide pension amounts.

MYTH -or- FACT? CalPERS Long-Term Care Program is financially unstable.

MYTH -or- FACT? Taxpayers pay 100 percent of retiree health care costs.

For more Myth or Fact questions and to see answers to the questions above, click here to read the full article on the CalPERS website.


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