California's Pension, Education Costs: Out of Control

by: Matthew Rafat

From AP writer Judy Lin:

Funding for K-12 schools and community colleges accounts for roughly half of annual state spending.

Funny how we haven't gotten smarter, but we've definitely gotten poorer. Meanwhile, California's state worker pension fund--which includes teachers' pensions--is still worth $177.7 billion. (Yes, that's billion with a "b.")

After years of staying mostly neutral, the San Jose Mercury News (July 7, 2009) finally issued an editorial opinion asking Sacramento to enact pension reform:

The unfortunate truth is that the Democrat-controlled Legislature has been too quick to increase pension benefits and will resist reconsidering them unless it's forced to. Now is the time to do that...

Now, because of stock market declines and rising costs of health care, retirement costs are already siphoning $3.3 billion from the state budget, just when California is facing substantial cuts in education and services to the poor. That cost is expected to rise steeply. [Emphasis added]

By the way, in case you're wondering, state workers get the following benefits: "3 percent of pay for every year worked, up to 90 percent maximum after 30 years for safety officers and 60 percent for other employees."

Where can non-government workers get 60% of their salary guaranteed in retirement? If you discover a place that allows non-executives to claim the 60% retirement bracket, let me know. I won't be holding my breath.