OC Legislators Seek Pension Reform, Attack Collective Bargaining in California

Categories: Politics
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With union-backed Democrats holding the governor's office and both houses of the California Legislature, it's unlikely collective bargaining for public employees will be torpedoed or pension-ending reform will be enacted.

But, God bless 'em, three Orange County Republicans are going to try to accomplish those goals anyway.

California Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) has introduced a bill with no specific language about ending collective bargaining on pensions, but he says he will later amend the legislation to do just that once the lower house's Republican Pension Reform Working Group whips up details in a few weeks.

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American idol Mansoor
But with the face-time-collective-bargaining killer and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is getting on the teevee lately, Mansoor knows the iron is hot now. In a few weeks, Californians will be caught up in the American Idol finals.

"I stand with the legislators in the Midwest who are taking brave steps to stand with the citizens," Mansoor tells The Associated Press. "It's very hard to rein things in under the current process. Pensions are out of control. They have to be brought back in line with the private sector."

The California Public Employees Retirement System, the nation's largest pension fund, has $75 billion in unfunded liabilities, and the Cash4Gold State also faces nearly $52 billion in unfunded retiree-health-care benefits.

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It's all about Mimi.
Also hopping onto the Pension Reform Train are state Senators Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) and Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel). Harman's bill would require public-employee pension systems to file a disclosure report each year  to the Legislature for retirees earning more than $100,000 annually. Walters would let new public employees eat 401(k)'s.

Republicans in Sacramento want pension reform included in the current debates aimed at closing California's $26.6 billion budget deficit. But Governor Jerry Brown says he wants a budget first before moving on to pensions.

Labor unions began a candlelight vigil Monday at the California Capitol to support workers in Wisconsin. The Democratic Party of Orange County has its own planned from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday in front of the State Office Building, 28 Civic Center Plaza, Santa Ana. Call Misha Houser at (714) 317-8122, or visit the vigil's Facebook page.

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