I had just polished off an article on the politics of pension reform and headed off to a Hillsdale College event in Atlanta to talk about Gov. Jerry Brown's sell-out to the unions, when the governor released a pension-reform plan that goes much further than any pension-reform advocate had expected. Before the release, I had opined on this site that the plan would be faux pension reform. But Brown's plan basically echoed the Republican Senate plan released in June. It doesn't go far enough to fix the problem, as a former Schwarzenegger official explained, but it's not bad either. It increases retirement ages for new hires, requires cost-splitting for current employees, creates a hybrid plan that mixes defined benefits with defined contributions, eliminates some of the more egregious pension-spiking gimmicks and starts to reform the corruption-plagued CalPERS by reforming its board. The real question is whether the Brown plan will get a fair hearing in the Legislature. I wonder how much political capital the governor will expend to push it forward. He has a habit of announcing plans and then letting them languish. Still this could be a good start.
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