Borenstein: Is Gov. Newsom serious about taming pension costs?

Gavin Newsom deserves credit for his unprecedented proposal to pay down California’s pension debt. But don’t kid yourself: The amount is a pittance compared to the overall shortfall of the state’s retirement funds.

The real test will be whether the new governor supports fundamental and essential pension law changes sought by his predecessor, Jerry Brown, to stem the escalating costs for the state and local governments.

During the campaign, Newsom opposed Brown’s legal push, which is currently pending before the state Supreme Court. But, now that he’s in office, Newsom says he’s evaluating the case.

The fundamental problem is that the pension and retiree health benefits promised to public employees in California are more generous than the state and local governments can afford.

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