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How About a Cap on Pensions?

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Pension Reform

Barbara Maynard is with the Coalition of City Unions and Californians for Retirement Security. She joins Ted Chen on Today in LA Weekend to talk about new reforms aimed towards the public employee retirement system.

Costa Mesa Grapples With a Pension Crisis

Pensions could account for as much as 30% of Costa Mesa's budget by 2015.
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California's economy is in the dumps and its budget deficit is growing. But governments in the state seem to be doing a great job at producing more of one thing: very generous pensions.

The Orange County Register reports another big jump in the number of public employees statewide making pensions of $100,000 or more.

There are 12,199 such pensioners, according to CalPERS figures obtained by California Pension Reform. That's up from 1,841 such $100,000 pensioners in 2005.

What's driving the increase? Primarily retirements by local employees, particularly law enforcement officers, who enjoy some of the most generous pensions in the United States.

What to do? It may make sense to try a cap on pensions, with any savings going back into the system to make it more sustainable. And since the $100,000 pension seems to offend, why not seize on the popular interest in plans with 9s in them and make the cap $99,999?

Yes, it legally would be difficult to do this, particularly for current employees.

But it would be more than fair. If you make enough money to earn a six-figure pension, can't you save enough money on your own that you don't need a pension that big?

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