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Aug 2015
Attorney General: Reed initiative eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension benefits

The California Attorney General has acknowledged that the scope of Chuck Reed's initiative is to eliminate constitutional protection for the vested pension benefits for all current public employees, and subject their future salaries and benefits to a public vote.

In the official "Title and Summary" for the initiative, the Attorney General states that the initiative, "Eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including those working in K-12 schools, higher education, hospitals, and police protection, for future work performed." The summary also found the initiative would subject all public employee compensation to public vote.

This initiative is directed at every current public employee in the state, whether they are a Deputy District Attorney, Judge, police officer, firefighters, teacher, college professor or clerk. The Attorney General summary exposes as false Reed's claim that his initiative is narrowly focused on pensions for future employees, not the vested benefits of current public employees. Instead, the Attorney General analysis concludes that in addition to eliminating constitutional protection of vested benefits, it also lets voters direct the scope of collective bargaining, or disapprove agreements reached in collective bargaining.

The Attorney General was not the only public entity to provide analysis of the initiative. We wrote about the initiative's threat to the stability and existence of all pensions plans and its impact on disability benefits for future public employees, including police officers and firefighters. CALPERS, meanwhile, issued a letter stating the initiative could cause IRS issues that would "affect the system's tax exempt status;" and would "make providing death or disability benefits extremely impracticable."

It is noteworthy that three days after the Attorney General's "Title and Summary," the San Jose City Council voted to ask a Judge to invalidate Reed's 2012 Measure B - a pension initiative which devastated public safety in San Jose. To quote a Bay Area columnist, "The city conceded that Measure B was a mistake, an error, a massive foot fault. The council agreed to ask a judge to invalidate it, to brand it formally as incorrectly designed law." Unfortunately for San Jose, the damage Reed caused will take years to repair.

Reed has promised legal review of the Attorney General's Title and Summary before attempting to collect signatures to qualify the initiative. In the meantime, he has resorted to his familiar playbook of lies and invective labeling those opposing his initiative as "government union bosses" and repeating his false claim that the initiative doesn't eliminate constitutional protections for vested benefits.



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