Pension reformer Marcia Fritz argued in a recent Long Beach Press-Telegram column that "The most impactful provision of the governor's pension reform plan would require state and local government employees to pay half the cost of their retirement plans -- not unlike those who are fortunate to work for private companies that match their employees' 401(k) contributions. If public employees agree to pay half, the savings will begin immediately and support services and jobs that would otherwise be cut. The 'devastating' cuts that Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana recently warned about don't have to be so devastating."
That's a very good idea, but there are plenty of great ideas to fix the pension mess. We need to reduce pensions for current employees going forward, switch disabilities to an insurance model, end pension-spiking abuses, etc. The problem is political. How can we advance any reform in a state Legislature controlled by the unions. This is a place, after all, that refused to cut pensions even for government employees convicted of on-the-job felonies. In California, reform will need to come through the initiative process.