Jerry Brown predicts ‘fiscal oblivion’ if pensions are off limits for government employers

Gov. Jerry Brown warned this week that public agencies in California are on a track to “fiscal oblivion” if they’re barred from adjusting retirement benefits for their employees.

He issued the warning in an interview with The Sacramento Bee three weeks after his attorneys defended his 2012 pension law at the California Supreme Court against a challenge from the union that represents state firefighters.

The lawsuit is a test of the legal precedent known as the California Rule, which bars government agencies from reducing promised retirement benefits without offering some kind of new compensation.

Brown in his first term as governor signed laws that expanded collective bargaining rights for unions, including ones that represent government workers. Unions now have a significant voice in state politics, and have fought efforts to adjust pension obligations.

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