January 15, 2010
Contact: Lani Lutar
619-234-6423; firstname.lastname@example.org or @LaniLutar
San Diego County Taxpayers Association: Open Letter to
the San Diego Union-Tribune on Pension Reform
· While the City has implemented a pension plan for new employees hired after July 1, 2009, this plan only applies to non-public safety employees. It does not apply to the politicians or public safety employees that constitute the largest portion of the budget. Currently, the legislative pension benefits awarded to Councilmembers represents the most lavish of all city retirement plans.
· In 2004, the Pension Reform Committee proposed recommendations to reduce pension costs. While the City has made progress, we can’t reiterate enough that our system will continue to be unsustainable if public safety retirement benefits are not scaled back to reasonable levels that are identified in the PRC report.
· The City continues to provide expensive discretionary pension perks that can and should be eliminated or reduced. The potential for savings? Over $25 million annually.
· Last October Councilmembers Frye and DeMaio requested a legal analysis of various pension reform options to identify which benefits are vested and which may be renegotiated. We anxiously look forward to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s response and urge action on legally feasible opportunities.
· In addition to the massive pension deficit, retiree medical benefits result in an additional $1.3 billion unfunded liability. When the City enters into negotiations with labor groups on this benefit in the near future, it is absolutely imperative that taxpayer savings are achieved.
Let’s not mistake modest progress for success that can be hailed as a “model for the nation”. The City still has a long way to go.
Lani Lutar, President & CEO