Retiree Benefits Prove Promising Hunting Ground For State Budget Cuts
State and local officials facing down looming budget shortfalls are beginning to look at cutting public employees' famously generous retirement benefits, The Washington Post reports. "Public employees are facing a backlash that has intensified with the nation's economic woes, union leaders say, because of their good job security, generous health-care and pension benefits, and right to retire long before most private-sector workers."
One example: "In California, where an estimated 80 cents out of every government dollar goes to employee pay and benefits, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed a two-tier system of pensions that offers new state workers reduced benefits with tighter retirement formulas. He also wants state workers to kick in higher pension contributions to help deal with California's staggering deficit" (Fletcher, 10/6).