10/14/2019

Gov. Newsom’s budget shows pension fixes failed

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to use some of the state’s budget surplus to pay down unfunded liabilities in the state’s two giant government employee pension funds drew praise from an unexpected source – the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which otherwise had a low opinion of the new governor’s 2019-20 spending plan.

Next fiscal year, Newsom wants to give $3 billion to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. He also proposes giving up to $5.9 billion over four years to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.

Both funds have less than 70 percent of the assets they will need to pay off promised pensions. Last year, CalSTRS’ unfunded liability was estimated to be $107.3 billion and CalPERS’ was put at $136 billion. Some see Newsom’s proposal as a confirmation of the failure of ballyhooed efforts by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to reform pensions and shore up the pension giants.

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