SACRAMENTO - Senate and Assembly Republicans today introduced Governor Brown's pension reform legislation, and called upon Democrats in the Legislature to work with them across party lines to enact the Governor's reforms.
"Republicans believe that the Governor should have an up-or-down vote on his pension reform plan," said Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, of Diamond Bar. "While we have heard Democrats give lip service about supporting his plan, none of their Members have committed to supporting it, or even carrying it. That's why today Republicans are introducing the Governor's pension reforms as legislation. We have not changed one comma, one period or one word. This is his plan as he wrote it, and we will stand with him to see it passed."
"Governor Brown's pension reform plan represents the first step of the changes that must be enacted to get our runaway pension system under control," said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, of Tulare. "We are committed to working across party lines to pass the Governor's plan. At the same time, Republicans will also propose a number of other vital reforms to end the abuse of the system, bring public employee pensions in line with those in the private sector and preserve fair retirements for government workers."
Previous studies from independent, nonpartisan sources have estimated California's total ongoing unfunded state pension obligations to be as high as $500 billion, and the problem is growing worse by the day.
Senate Constitutional Amendment 18 (Huff), Senate Bill 1176 (Huff), Assembly Constitutional Amendment 22 (Smyth and Conway), and Assembly Bill 2224 (Smyth and Conway) would enact the 12-point pension reform plan outlined by Governor Brown last fall. The language in the bill is the identical legislative language as crafted by the Brown Administration.
Legislative Republicans have called the Governor's pension reform plan the start of the changes that must be made to fix California's broken pension system and protect vital funding for core priorities now and in the future. GOP lawmakers also plan to introduce other reforms this session that will bring state pensions more in line with what most Californians who work in the private sector are offered, and reduce ongoing costs to taxpayers.
In a recent poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, 83 percent of Californians said the amount of government spending on pensions is a problem.
"The people of California are demanding that the Legislature and the Governor enact pension reform," said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, who is carrying the Governor's reform plan in the Assembly. "Today, Republicans are listening to the voices of the people, joining together to support the Governor's 12-point pension plan and enact the type of public pension reforms that Californians overwhelmingly support."
"As a member of the pension reform conference committee, I've remained hopeful that the committee would move forward with the governor's modest reforms," said Senator Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, a member of the joint legislative conference committee on pension reform. "However, the persistence of special interests to derail any serious efforts to fix our massively underfunded pension systems is hampering any significant progress. That is why it is imperative that we act now and entreat our Democrat colleagues to work with us."
"We have heard some Democrats talk about the drive for pension reform as being anti-worker. Nothing could be further from the truth," said Assemblyman Jim Silva, R-Huntington Beach, a member of the joint legislative conference committee on pension reform. "The Governor's pension reform plan and reforms proposed by Republicans are about fairness-fairness to taxpayers and fair retirements for employees."