Pensions on lawmakers’ fall agenda

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Democratic leaders will announce the creation of a new bipartisan committee charged with finding ways to change the state’s public pension system, lawmakers confirmed Friday.

The committee, to be headed by Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) and Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Long Beach) will be announced Friday, according to multiple legislative sources. The legislative announcement was expected to be followed by a revised outline from Gov. Jerry Brown on his ideas about how to alter the public-benefit plans – an announcement lawmakers have been expecting for weeks.


“My expectation is that within the next week or two, we will see a more formal and detailed proposal from the governor,” Simitian said Friday.

Earlier this year, Brown unveiled a pension proposal that included consideration of a hybrid option that would allow new workers to participate in a 401 (k)-style plan instead of the existing plan, which predetermines pension payouts.

Public-employee pensions were one of the major issues being negotiated with Brown and Senate Republicans during this year’s budget talks. Republicans were seeking concessions from Democrats on pensions in exchange for their support of a statewide election on higher taxes. Those discussions ended fruitlessly.

--Anthony York in Sacramento