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.
Voter support for rolling back benefits available to few outside the public sector comes as Gov. Jerry Brown and Republicans in the Legislature haggle over changes to the pension system as part of state budget negotiations. Such benefits have been a flashpoint of national debate this year, and the poll shows that Californians are among those who perceive public retirement plans to be too costly.
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.
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.
If Cal. falls for the Unions, its done for them. Obama and the left must be going nuts over this.