City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Steven Greenhut
San Jose and the Elephant in the Room « Back to Story

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Whatever happens, it won't be enough. California is already on a path to insolvency, since they have killed the goose so speak. Think Detroit since it is where this is all going.

Brown (and California government) is doomed no matter what. A tax increase will mean more business leaving the state, which means less taxes despite the increase so California won't be able to pay its bills. If there is no increase then California won't be able to pay its bills. Either way it will be entertaining to watch.

The only hope for California is that it vote out the Democrats who are destroying the state, more or less on purpose since more taxes and regulations means Republicans leave the state. In the minds of these corrupt people more poverty is the goal, since it fosters government dependency and those dependent on government vote close to 100% for Democrats. So its a lose lose in the traditional sense, but for Democrats its win win. These people figure that it will be a long while before they run out of other people's money.

One thing for certain - prosperity is not coming anytime soon for California. For those in public service I would say this - don't count too much on getting checks through retirement - you have killed the goose.

Get rid of defined benefit plans. Politicians and the unions will always game the system with defined benefit plans.
Mr. Greenhut, with all due respect, this article is lacking a few facts and seems to based primarily on one-sided messages from the SJ Mayor's office. Reed is definitely not a liberal Democarat. He resembles union-busting Republicans far more. We all (Mayor and employee unions) knew their needed to be pension reform, we just disagreed on how to get it.

Our City's major problems started some years back when the Public Safety pensions were increase- significantly and made retro-active for all PD and FD sworn employees. The City's General Fund simply could not afford to pay 100% of unlimited sick leave hours upon retirement nor retirement at 90% of their highest salary year for the rest of their lives + the ongoing COLA. Not only that, Public Safety pads their highest year salary with lots of overtime, which is hard to believe is allowed. Then the City had the decade of investment, which increased our GF costs for operating and maintenance of many new and/or enlarged infrastructure. Next our economy bombed and accounting requiremnts changed. The skilled, educated, and hard-working employees relying on the Federated Retirement System had nothing to do with these happenings, yet are faced with being hit the hardest to fix it. How many people do you know that are faced with taking a pay cut each year for possibly the rest of their career in one organization? That's what's facing us including continued higher costs in just about every area of living. The majority of the retirement unfunded liability is born in the Police and Fire Retirement plan.
To Robert Oaks .... spoken by a true Civil Servant, who feels it appropriate that OTHERS (Private Sector Taxpayers) with FAR FAR smaller pensions should continue to fund 80-90% (as they do today) of the FAR FAR greater pensions and benefits they have been promised.

Sorry buddy .... ain't gonna happen
While some modest reform of the public pension system should be accomplished. This race to the bottom that is destroying financial security for people in their senior years by forcing them to rely on 401K-like investment vehicles is shameful. IRA's were originally intended to supplement, not replace, pensions. That is as it should be, especially as more and more wealth has become increasingly concentrated among the very rich.
After reading "INCREASE the retirement age to 57 ..." what more is there to say?
Quoting ..."Jerry Brown paints a bleak picture of the future of “civilization” if Californians refuse to back his proposed tax increase, now vying for a place on the November ballot. If voters reject the initiative, warned the governor in December, it would reveal a deep “skepticism of public service” and send a message that “the common institution called government is not something we want to invest in.”"

Hardly, a rejection of tax increases is finally taking a stand against the UN-Civilized and grossly excessive pensions and benefits of Civil Servants. There would be plenty of money for necessary services if so much was not siphoned off to fund the excesses promised to Public Sector workers ... 80-90% on the Taxpayer's dime.
Steve, are you also a friend of Reed's? This artivle is something Iexpect of the MercuryNews. Very slanted. Interesting that you have no mention of the fact that Mayor Reed made up his deficitnumber of 650 million. Nomention NBC is investigating him and his lies. So much for public integrity. Hopefully the attorney general will look into this and he will get what he deserves. San Jose will make the City ofBell look calm.
Have you not been paying attention to the news lately? Mayor Reed has been caught in his lie. Just check NBC11 for their reporting. Not a very good article when you leave out some very pertinant facts. The real elephant in the room is the lies he has been conjuring up!
What’s more, “the city’s pension contribution for police next year is expected to be about 60 percent of pay,” an imbalance that has forced the city to lay off 66 younger police officers over the last few years.

What the next sentence should be is that The City of San Jose has recontacted all of those 66 layed off Police Officers and asked them if they wanted their job back in the every same retirement plan they left. Only thing they would lose was city seniority. About 1/3 rd accepted, the remaining number declined to return.
Indeed there is a third option to the mess the Democrats have created (remember folks who was in the majority in the Legislature). Cut the salaries, benefits and pensions of government employees. In fact, slash them. Government employees now enjoy far better wages, benefits and retirement benefits than the general public. Cut. Cut. And cut again. Screw the unions and the regulators who have been captured by the job killing NGOs. Remove the tax exemptions of any advocacy agency that attempts to influence public policy. That will help. A lot.