The latest tack by California unions has been denial when it comes to pension reform. The unions claim that there is no pension unfunded liability problem, and they have claimed that San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democratic reformer, is overstating any sort of problem. Here is a good rebuttal in today's Sacramento Bee from former Democratic Assemblyman Joe Nation, now a Stanford professor, and his researcher, Dakin Sloss:
Among cities and counties with pension systems outside of CalPERS, i.e., "independent" systems, pension expenditures have increased 11.4 percent annually since 1999, faster than any other category. Based on economic and finance standards used everywhere except in the public pension world, the top 24 independent pension systems are collectively $136 billion in debt and have only 54 cents for every dollar they owe. In nearly every municipality, employee pensions are being prioritized over libraries, parks, street maintenance, health care and public safety.They blame the deception of accounting practices for the current mess. And they make the progressive case for pension reform. Not that anyone in the Capitol is listening.