A teachers’ pension fund is in the money . . . Is a Kevin De León bill in the IRS’s crosshairs? . . . The State Board of Education greenlights yet another Oakland charter school.
When the Finance and Administration Committee of CalPERS, the giant public-sector pension fund, met Wednesday morning in Sacramento, its agenda included a vote on a seemingly innocuous proposal made by California State Treasurer John Chiang to expand its Responsible Contractor Program.
Call it the tale of two pension crises. In June, the Los Angeles Times’ business pages looked at the looming retirement savings disaster caused by the nearly 40-year transition from employer-sponsored defined-benefit pensions to individual 401(k) plans — a sea change in retirement insecurity, it noted, that “has been a failure for all but the wealthiest Americans.”
Last month former San Jose mayor Chuck Reed took the first step toward offering a promised draft of a 2016 public pension cutting initiative that, he has hinted, will target the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. CalPERS manages the retirement and health benefits for more than 1.6 million California public employees, retirees and their families. Reed tried to get a pension initiative on the ballot in 2014, only to withdraw the measure when state attorney general Kamala Harris assigned it a ballot description that Reed and his allies believed would hurt their chances with the electorate.
This time, however, Reed could find his campaign in danger from an unexpected source – conservative allies who might be worried that his initiative’s very presence on the ballot will draw huge numbers of liberal and union voters – who would then also vote against conservative candidates running for local and state office.
Capital & Main recently looked at a spate of negative headlines about public pension funds, spurred by data that State Controller John Chiang released on his new public data site at ByTheNumbers.sco.ca.gov.
Chiang has served as Controller since 2006, acting as California’s Chief Fiscal Officer. He was recently elected as State Treasurer and will switch to that office next year. In both roles, Chiang sits on the Boards of Administration for the two largest public employee funds, California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).
Capital & Main followed up with the Controller to ask about the state of pension systems in California and how those systems should be looking to the future.
The data you posted on your By the Numbers site led to many existing critics of pension saying “See?