Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger...

In your State of the State address, given January 5, 2005, you said that:

“California’s pension obligations have risen from $160 million in 2000 to $2.6 billion this year.”

Could you please direct me to where I can see evidence of this 16-fold increase in the course of less than five years?

Until I see such evidence, I cannot believe that this is a true statement. Perhaps you are including figures from the cost of the San Diego “lump sum” pension boondoggle but since your statement does not specify this, and many people are not aware of San Diego’s problems, most who hear your statement would believe that you are only talking about the CalPERS system.

Or perhaps it’s simply your choice of time frame, because in some recent years, many public employers did not have to contribute anything at all to CalPERS, because of the great growth of CalPERS’s investments. Again, this would be a very misleading way to present your case.

To be fair, and I must assume that you want to be fair, the comparisons should be over at least a ten-year time frame, should include only CalPERS contributions (unless stated otherwise), should be evaluated in terms of percent-of-payroll costs, and all years, not just beginning and ending years, should be included. Then, and only then, will the taxpayers have the information they need for making a judgement.

Thank you for any information you can provide about this matter.

Sincerely,
Kathleen

[Any information that I receive in reply to this request will be posted in this space...]

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