Given the political realities under California’s Capitol dome, the pension measure awaiting final action in the Legislature today is probably the best reform package that could have been achieved. Nevertheless, lawmakers need to vet this measure as carefully as they can before they approve it and the public should be under no illusions. The changes enacted do not end the pension crisis that afflicts the state, local governments and school districts.
A preliminary calculation by state pension official actuaries pegs the savings in the reform measure at $40 billion to $60 billion over the next three decades. That’s not nearly enough to erase the unfunded pension liabilities for the state and local governments, conservatively estimated at $164 billion.