There appears to be some basic agreement among Democrats, Republicans and even unions that systemic abuses, like spiking and double-dipping, must end. But GOP Senator Mimi Walters says that's not enough. She says the current "defined benefit" system - in which employees get a fixed payment each month - doesn't work. Walters wants a 401k-style system instead.
Walters: "We have to do at the very minimum a hybrid of the defined benefit and the defined contribution plan. We cannot sustain this type of a system if we continue to give just a defined benefit plan to employees."
Walters says that setup should be mandatory - and apply both to new employees and future benefits for current employees. Benefits already earned by current employees wouldn't change. Democratic Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod isn't sure a hybrid system would work - but she does think there must be change. She says a state employee hired a year from now will have a very different pension plan from one hired several years ago.
Negrete McLeod: "That's a little bit unfair, but that's the way it goes when you have a state so in dire need of money. And we have to ensure that the pension system is sound. I think that's the only thing that we can do."
The biggest unknown right now is what Governor Brown will propose. Both senators say they expect him to go further than many legislative Democrats would like. Brown's also indicated that parts of his plan would need voter approval. The governor's proposal is highly anticipated - and it'll come out on Thursday.