Pension Reform Argument from Ventura County Taxpayer’s Association


pension.vctaFrom the Ventura County Tax Payer's Association

I recognize the difficult job that is done by public safety employees and would like to preserve good pensions for them, but those pensions have to be reasonable. We currently have a system where 84% of Ventura County retirees receiving six figure pensions actually receive pensions that are greater than 100% of their final salary. That is wrong. No public employee should be able to earn more in retirement than they did while working.

If the unions and county leaders are against the pension reform initiative then they need to propose a solution of their own that eliminates the obvious excesses and abuses. So far the defenders of the status quo have offered nothing other than continuing a system that is fiscally unsustainable and will result in vital services to our neediest citizens being gutted in order to fund lavish pensions for a select few. You can’t just sit back and oppose any changes to a system that is fiscally and ethically broken.

Absent any alternative I feel like I have no choice but to sign the petition. County government exists to provide services to its citizens, especially to the poor, homeless, elderly, and disabled. But the social contract has been broken. The system is now rigged to pay lavish pensions to select groups of public employees, with the massive costs being borne by taxpayers and on the backs of our neediest citizens. This needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

I would also add that pension benefits for public safety employees weren’t nearly this high until passage of SB400 in 1999. After fierce lobbying by unions, the State of California gave their safety employees a 50% retroactive pension increase, which set off a wave of similar pension increases throughout the state. That’s why it is ridiculous to suggest that we need to preserve the existing status quo in order to recruit and retain safety employees, as it wasn’t that long ago that we had no problem hiring police officers and firefighters when pension formulas were far lower. Previous generations of police officers and firefighters retired on lower pension formulas just fine, so why does the current generation feel entitled to early retirement with 90% pensions?

Finally, it is important to point out that many police and fire departments throughout the state are now understaffed due to massive increases in pension costs resulting from the pension giveaways over the previous decade. Anybody that really cares about public safety needs to understand that these lavish pensions are actually reducing the number of police officers and firefighters that cities and counties can afford to hire. These runaway pension increases have harmed public safety in our communities by making it impossible to afford hiring more cops and firefighters because we pay so much to those that are no longer working.


Lisa McDermoth, Carla Bonney at the Fairgrounds Saturday gathering signatures for the new initiative for Pension Reform in Ventura County.








The Ventura County Taxpayers Association, advocating for sound fiscal public policy

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William "Bill" Hicks
William "Bill" Hicks
7 years ago

Follow the money. If you really want to question a politician on this issue you must connect the dots between the politician(s) and the Union(s) that support them. Simple as that.