Some California Mayors File Ballot Initiative to Reduce Pension Costs

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Mayors of a handful of California cities struggling with public employee pension costs announced Tuesday that they’re filing an initiative for the November 2014 ballot. Their measure would allow cities and counties to unilaterally reduce publ

Unsustainable and escalating public employee pension costs contributed to bankruptcies in cities like Vallejo and Stockton and that, say initiative supporters, is something he hopes this ballot measure will help other cities avoid. 

 “I think cities should have the ability, as an alternative to bankruptcy, to make changes to avoid bankruptcy, says San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. “And the ability to avoid service delivery insolvency to bring down these skyrocketing costs.”

But opponents say if the ballot measure passes, it would undermine collective bargaining rights.

“They could undo those promises with a single stroke of the pen unilaterally, says Steve Smith with the California Labor Federation. “They can do it based on a politician’s whims or political agenda.”

The initiative must be certified by the Attorney General before signature gathering can begin.

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