Some say a mighty enough earthquake on the San Andreas Fault could dump much of the California coast into the Pacific Ocean. Could the state’s perilous public employee pension problems cause even worse damage?
State and local governments in the Golden State have underfunded their golden-parachute pension promises by a terrifying half-a-trillion dollars, with an incredible 20,000 public employees currently receiving yearly pensions of $100,000 or more.
In Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, the problem was highlighted last fall when a retired sheriff, Robert Brooks, sued the county claiming he was owed an additional $75,000 a year. On top of his already substantial $283,000 annual pension, which is a whopping $55,000 more than Brooks’ highest-ever salary.
In the last 15 years, pension costs as a percentage of the county’s budget have shot up an incredible 1,600 percent.
What can an outraged citizen do?
Take the initiative! On Wednesday, a group of men and women in beautiful Ventura County brought officials over 40,000 voter signatures demanding a vote on reform.
The people “made it clear they want a decisive say in their fiscal future,” said co-chairs David Grau and Dick Thomson, standing with other volunteers.
The ballot initiative proposed by the Committee for Pension Fairness would create a 401k-style retirement plan for new county employees. An independent analysis of the measure says it will create enough savings to shore up the woefully underfunded pensions of current employees and retirees.
“People are so excited that finally somebody is going to do something about this problem,” says the Ventura County Taxpayers Association’s Jim McDermott.
You can’t keep a good citizenry down.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.