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Poll: CA Workers Should Share Burdens

From, of all the places, the Los Angeles Times:

Times/USC Dornsife poll: California voters want public employees to help ease state’s financial troubles

A cap on pensions and a later retirement age — even for current public employees — are supported by the poll’s respondents.

By Shane Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times
April 24, 2011

California voters want government employees to give up some retirement benefits to help ease the state’s financial problems, favoring a cap on pensions and a later age for collecting them, according to a new poll…

Voters appear ready to embrace changes not just for future hires but also for current employees who have been promised the benefits under contract.

Seventy percent of respondents said they supported a cap on pensions for current and future public employees. Nearly as many, 68%, approved of raising the amount of money government workers should be required to contribute to their retirement. Increasing the age at which government employees may collect pensions was favored by 52%

"It’s pretty clear that there’s broad support for making changes in the area of pensions," said Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who co-directed the bipartisan poll for The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Many public safety officers can retire at 50 with a pension equal to 3% of their final salary for each year worked — for example, 60% of salary after 20 years on the job. Many other state employees can retire at 55, with 2.5% of salary for each year worked. And tens of thousands of public workers may also purchase "air time" — credit for years they do not actually work — to boost their retirement income

The public sentiment is a cause for concern for organized labor. Public employee unions that spent millions of dollars helping to elect Brown are working aggressively to keep their pensions intact. But the governor has made clear that he believes they must make concessions as the state struggles.

Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, said the public is trapped in a "moment of envy" over benefits that he maintains are far from lavish.

His union’s position is that every worker should be entitled to a pension, not an unsecured retirement reliant on Wall Street earnings. Policy makers should focus on winning back a stable retirement for private-sector workers rather than demonize public employees, he said.

The irony of a union boss complaining about ‘envy.’

Some state and local public employee unions have already agreed to some changes, such as a delay in the retirement age for new hires.

"It’s one thing for Republican governors in Wisconsin and Indiana to support these types of changes, but seeing this type of support from California voters, even California Democrats, is really remarkable," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC and a former GOP strategist

The Times/USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences poll surveyed 1,503 registered voters from April 7 to 17. It was conducted by a bipartisan team of polling companies based in the Washington, D.C., area: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic firm, and American Viewpoint, a Republican firm

A bi-partisan poll. What a novel concept.

But isn’t it also odd that we have never gotten similar polls before? Don’t you think we should have heard from the public in Wisconsin and Indiana and Ohio and all the other states that are trying to clamp down on runaway union costs?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, April 25th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Poll: CA Workers Should Share Burdens”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Have ya ever noticed that suffering always seems to be uni-directional? When they are doing well, the political right suffers. When they are being held accountable, the political right suffers again in the form of “shared” sacrifice.
    When they claim they are the victims, the political right takes it in the face, the shin and the groin. (Willingly at times, I might add).

    So…here’s a novel concept. You lefties, all gung-ho about ‘sharing’ this and that…how’s about YOU share it amongst yourselves. YOU created it, YOU deal with it. Leave my world alone. YOU took tax money and gave it to the union bosses to divvy out as they saw fit to elect ever more criminals who see it as a cash cow and even demanded more every year. Billions of dollars to create the “workers’ paradise” eh? Well, how’s that paradise working now? I’ll tell you how….it’s broke…that’s how! And when there’s no more money…a state can’t print it. It’s gone….G-O-N-E….gone! That means no more for you…no more for me and certainly no more for your union “leaders”.

    But, rather than go on one of my typical multi-paragraph tirades, I’ll just say this:

    “Bite me!”

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      No, I didn’t miss the point of the article. The public sector unions have bled the state dry. And yes, they should pay for more of their own “benefits”.

  2. canary says:

    California should implement an emergency state tax on the rich. Experiment for those that want it the most. .

  3. NoNeoCommies says:

    I have long believed that public employee salaries and benefits should be based on those working for fortune 500 companies.
    If business salaries and benefits drop, so do those of the public workers.
    Imagine the change in attitude when they see that business success helps their own bottom line.

  4. untrainable says:

    trapped in a “moment of envy”
    My god that’s rich. Does that mean that the Oblamer regime is trapped in a moment of envy where big oil is concerned? Does that mean that everyone in Wisconsin and Ohio who are non-union are trapped in a moment of envy over public sector unions?

    Using proper lefty logic, perhaps if the union members didn’t have anything for everyone else to envy, there wouldn’t be a problem. So tax ’em like libs want to tax the rich. Or take away all the union benefits, put everyone in the workforce on a level playing field (abolish the unions) and I’ll bet everything would be just fine. Not to mention the added benefit of the libs immediately losing billions in campaign contributions from those abolished unions. It could be a conservative utopia. I’ve always liked that one better than that silly liberal utopia everyone talks about. Who would want to live in a liberal utopia anyway? I mean, there are so many damned liberals to deal with.


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