The local picture is not much better, according to data released through Stanford University in October. Funded in part by a nonprofit that advocates pension reform and conducted by Joe Nation, a former Democratic assemblyman who is now with the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, the study found that the city of Sacramento has more than doubled its contribution to CalPERS in the past nine years, going from $42.4 million in 2008 to $88.2 million in 2017. Sacramento’s pension costs are expected to reach about $150 million by 2022.
So what does this cost taxpayers? A lot. As government contributions to CalPERS and CalSTRS soar, policymakers pull funds from important public services such as education, public safety and transportation to cover the pension cost increases. According to Nation, Sacramento’s higher pension contributions have likely reduced the city’s share of expenditures on police, transportation, neighborhood services, and convention and cultural services. By 2029, city pension expenditures will likely crowd out an additional $53 billion, requiring more taxpayer services to go on the chopping block.