Reform California scored many wins in the 2020 election (defeating tax hikes like Prop 15 and local tax hike/bond measures as well as flipping several legislative seats). Our 2021 plans build on those successes!
Among the initiatives discussed in this virtual Town Hall:
• Election Integrity Initiative: Making sure we stop fraudulent practices that weaken the security of our electoral process. • Defeat Gavin Newsom: Update on the Recall signature drive and our comprehensive efforts to build the case for stopping Gavin Newsom’s extreme agenda and electing a new common-sense Governor ASAP • Blocking Tax Hikes: As state and local politicians look to fill budget holes, Reform California has prepared a rapid response program to stop any tax hike proposals. • Electing Reform Leaders: Redistricting is underway statewide and we must ensure fair and reasonable districts are drawn – and we must recruit, train and support solid candidates for office in 2021 and 2022
“The effort by City Hall politicians and government union bosses to invalidate San Diego’s Prop B Pension Reform Initiative is a shameful and corrupt attempt to invalidate the will of the voters. A super-majority of 65% of San Diego voters approved common-sense Pension Reform in 2012 to save the city from bankruptcy and to end the outrageous gold-plated pension payouts routinely awarded in city government at taxpayers’ expense.
These same politicians will now try to award massive pension payouts and salary hikes to government bureaucrats at a time when the city is once again facing a financial crisis.
Let me make it perfectly clear: this fight is far from over. Armed with the knowledge that city politicians intentionally chose to ignore the will of the voters on pension reform, we will easily defeat ANY tax hike they propose and will redouble our efforts to fight the wasteful spending at City Hall at taxpayers’ expense.”
Today the California Supreme Court issued a ruling that upholds the modest PEPRA pension reform law enacted by former Governor Jerry Brown. While the ruling may seem like a win for taxpayers, Reform California Chairman Carl DeMaio, who also authored San Diego’s 2012 landmark pension reform initiative, says the ruling is quite narrow and provides little legal relief for taxpayers.
DeMaio issued the following statement in response to the ruling:
“By crafting a narrow ruling that sidesteps the fundamental flaws with the notorious California Rule, the California Supreme Court seems hell bent on forcing California taxpayers to bear the excessive costs of unsustainable pension payouts for state and local government employees. Because the California Rule remains untouched in this decision, taxpayers will continue to face legal hurdles that could prevent them from modifying or reforming excessive and unsustainable government pension payouts. The result will be higher taxes, less services, and potential insolvency in California’s cash-strapped state and local government pension systems.”
With today’s ruling the California Supreme Court has upheld PEPRA reforms such as banning the addition of unused sick time, bonus pays and some specialty pay to pension calculations – all common tools used by government workers to spike pensions.
Today the Fourth District Court of Appeals issued an order to financially compensate 4000 city employees in light of the voters passing Proposition B in 2012 – the San Diego Pension Reform Initiative. Despite this decision, Prop B author Carl DeMaio issues the following statement:
“Prop B Pension Reform is a Citizens Initiative that is protected under the California Constitution, and we continue to assert all of the legal remedies afforded to prevent it from being illegally overturned.”
Today the US Supreme Court opted to not hear a case filed by the City of San Diego regarding First Amendment rights of former Mayor Jerry Sanders to support Prop B in 2012 – the San Diego Pension Reform Initiative. In light of the decision, Prop B author Carl DeMaio issues the following statement:
“The Supreme Court accepts only 100-150 cases of over 7000 it receives each year, so while we are disappointed, we are not too surprised that the US Supreme Court did not weigh in. Prop B Pension Reform is a Citizens Initiative that is protected under the California Constitution and we continue to assert all of the legal remedies afforded to prevent it from being illegally overturned.”
California Supreme Court Negligently Sidesteps Important Issue to Block Meaningful Pension Reform Leaving Taxpayers Facing Billions in Unfunded Pension Debt
In a widely-anticipated ruling on whether lavish and unsustainable pension benefits for state and local government employees can be reformed or reduced, the California Supreme Court punted the entire issue yet again.
“We’re disappointed that the liberal California Supreme Court once again is serving as a barrier to common-sense reform of unsustainable and indefensible gold-plated government pension payouts,” said Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Reform California.
In the narrow ruling that upheld the elimination of the right to purchase service credits to spike pensions, the justices opted to leave the problematic “California Rule” intact that has been a legal barrier to meaningful reform to unsustainable pension benefits. Specifically the Supreme Court ruling said “We have no occasion in this decision to address, let alone to alter, the continued application of the California Rule,” the court said in the decision. The California Rule has been used repeatedly by politicians and government union bosses to block pension reform.
DeMaio is author of the San Diego Pension Reform Initiative that overwhelmingly passed in 2012 to switch city employees from defined benefit pensions to 401(k) defined contribution accounts. DeMaio is working with a bipartisan coalition to enact statewide pension reform.
A recent study by Stanford University suggests that unfunded debt for California state and local pension and retiree healthcare obligations stands at over $1 trillion. The state’s own official estimates using flawed accounting rules puts the liability at nearly half-a-trillion dollars and rising.
In addition to the debt burden placed on taxpayers, an examination of individual pension payouts to state and local government employees shows extreme abuses in the system resulting in six-figure pensions, million-dollar lump-sum payouts, and hundreds of thousands of retired state and local government officials taking in annual pension allowances that exceed their highest base salaries while working for government.
“These government pension abuses must be reformed or California taxpayers will face a future of higher taxes, fewer services, and bankruptcy in our cities and school districts,” DeMaio concluded.