My previous post pointed to some seemingly serious reforms coming from a small city that is running out of money. As pensions consume budgets, we'll see more of these good steps. But we're also going to see more phony reforms backed by union-friendly politicians and the unions themselves. These folks are convinced that the problem will go away once the economy comes roaring back. In San Francisco, the city's mayor and labor leaders are championing a pension reform deal that excludes police and firefighters (even though they comprise the majority of the problem) and only makes minor tweaks to the current system. Unions couldn't stand a real proposal pitched by public defender Jeff Adachi, who wants to cap pension payments at $140,000 a year among other reforms. That tells you much about the generosity of the city's pension system when that sort of cap is perceived as draconian by the leadership. Meanwhile, the city controller is rigging the analysis of the comparative measures to favor the one favored by City Hall. No doubt, the unions will win this political battle. But the numbers are still the numbers. Unfortunately, the city's residents will be the losers in the form of worsening services and higher taxes. Note that the city is promoting a pothole tax for the coming ballot.
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