As Pension Costs Rise, Brown Tells Local Governments They’re on Their Own
The Great Pension Squeeze could present a nightmare scenario for California if local governments begin to falter en masse. But don’t expect the state to throw them any lifelines. This month, Gov. Jerry Brown said cities and counties that “signed up for pensions they can’t afford” have to go it alone.
"I don’t think the state is in a position, as far as I can see, to step in the shoes of mayors and supervisors. They’re going to have to handle that themselves,” Brown said.
Those comments weren’t exactly comforting to the growing number of local leaders feeling anxious about the future. Some cities have seen their payments to CalPERS rise by double digits and the pension fund’s most recent annual survey shows city managers' confidence in freefall.
Their biggest hope, the governor notes, may lie in a much anticipated decision expected from the California Supreme Court on the so-called “California Rule” which locks in public benefits promised at hire. A ruling could come by the end of the year.