California is one of the most generous states in the nation toward illegal immigrants, teachers, the unemployed, and single mothers. It’s also just about bankrupt. As the saying goes, it’s easy to be generous with other people’s money.
One of the biggest money pits that the oh-so-generous California taxpayers are funding is the state workers’ pension fund. California public employees have some of the cushiest retirement packages around. These so-called public employees often get fatter paychecks in retirement than they did when they were working.
The Golden State? The Welfare State seems more appropriate.
Something is horribly wrong with California’s pension system, and unless something is done to reform it (soon!) the pyramid scheme will collapse. Early retirement ages combined with longer life expectancies means that retirees often collect more checks during retirement than they did during employment. This is not a pension -- this is welfare.
No one needs to retire at the ripe-old age of 55 and receive an average of 75% of their last annual salary for the rest of their life. California is unique in this, as all other states average salaries over the last 3-5 years on the job when determining pension payouts. Because of this ‘one year’ rule, California retirees are often able to artificially inflate their salary by switching to a high-earning job for one year, or cashing out years worth of accrued vacation time.
The city of Bell, CA has spent some time in the news recently for their outrageous abuse of pensions, but that city is hardly unique in the state. Some other atrocities examples include Bruce Malkenhorst, a former Vernon city administrator, who pulls in $500,000 annually with his pension, the former chief San Diego city librarian that will fleece city taxpayers of $6 million plus over the next 25 years, and the 5,600 or so state employees who are double-dipping by concurrently collecting both a salary and a pension.
This truly is the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous … on a government pension. The California chapter of Americans for Prosperity is currently touring the state to raise awareness of pension abuse and the imminent need for reform. It won’t be an easy battle, but it’s one that must be waged, in the legislature, in the courts, and at the ballot box. A financial meltdown in one of the nation’s most resource-rich states will benefit no one.
Image via Calsidyrose/Flickr