by Carons Bruno
Hoover Institution
February 25, 2014
California’s two main pension systems—CalPERs and CalSTRs—are massively underfunded. Following the Hoover Institution’s “California Public Pension Solutions” conference, the bi-partisan group of attendees completed a post-conference survey that explored pension reform concepts discussed during the conference. Overall, the conference yielded three important overarching themes: the “California Rule” needs to be amended, reform needs to be holistic, and leadership with public support is a necessity. The “California Rule” makes it so “pension benefits for current employees cannot be detrimentally changed, even if the changes are purely prospective.” A ballot initiative to amend the “California Rule” supported by Mayor Chuck Reed could appear on the November ballot. Nonetheless, at a certain point California and its localities will reach insolvency and reform will have to occur—it is more a matter of when than whether.

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