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Tiny towns and the tangled problem of pensions

Tiny towns and the tangled problem of pensions
Loyalton city retiree John Cussins had his pension cut by 60% when Loyalton opted out of CalPERS citing the inability to afford paying into the program. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Your article ably reported on the problem the small city of Loyalton is facing with its unfortunate and expensive withdrawal from CalPERS. But, CalPERS created the problem some 40 years ago and Loyalton is the tip of the spear in reacting to the implications of this tightening fiscal straightjacket. The current procedure of withdrawing from CalPERS is in dire need of reform. ("A tiny town's massive pension trouble," Aug. 6)

I authored a solution to help fiscally strapped municipalities get out of this "lobster trap," as I called it during a recent joint hearing. Senate Bill 681 would allow a simple and fair accounting solution "to terminate [a] contract with the system in a manner that does not result in excessive costs or penalties to [a] public agency." With many cities on the financial brink, the CalPERS board must step up to its prior poor and dilatory actuarial assumptions.

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John Moorlach, Costa Mesa

The writer is the Republican state senator for the 37th District

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To the editor: The article on Loyalton highlights a much bigger issue: Many local jurisdictions no longer have a viable tax base and are poorly managed.

The long-term solution for those cities is either to merge with other nearby jurisdictions or disincorporate altogether. The bulk of these pension problems pretty much stems from these two issues.

Stewart Chesler, Sherman Oaks

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