In California and Rhode Island (to name just two states) cities are going bankrupt . . . or closing libraries and parks and cutting police and firemen to forestall going belly up. Meanwhile, they continue paying huge sums in employment benefits for folks who used to work at city hall, but have since retired into the politicians’ promised land.
Bankrupt cities don’t do so well at paying out those promises, though.
That’s why even many union members in San Jose and San Diego, California, supported the victorious citizen initiatives earlier this year that created a reasonable and workable pension program, and why serious pension reform passed through the legislature and was signed into law in deep-blue, heavily unionized Rhode Island.
In Los Angeles, former Mayor Richard Riordan’s Save Los Angeles campaign has worked mightily to prevent the city’s three pension systems from hitting the outrageous and piggy-bank breaking annual cost of $2 billion by 2017. Unfortunately, Riordan’s group abandoned a petition drive to place a reform measure similar to San Diego’s and San Jose’s on the Los Angeles ballot next Spring. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 721 claimed credit for blocking the initiative, claiming they convinced thousands of petition signers to withdraw their signatures.
Now, the Los Angeles Daily News reports that, “With no pension ballot initiative to fight, the unions can re-focus their energy and their money on the races for mayor, controller, city attorney and the City Council.”
“We are more freed up now,” said an anonymous union official.
And likely to have even more influence on how the city will be run and financed and managed.
Or should I say, “mis-managed”?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.