SAN JOSE (CBS13) – San Diego and San Jose voters overwhelmingly passed pension cuts for public employees in Tuesday night’s election, and it could be a sign of more to come across California.
“It’s going to save the city of San Jose billions of dollars,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.
Reed says his voters sent a clear message.
“There are ways to deal with this problem that’s plaguing the country. Many, many cities are in trouble,” said Reed. “The country is in trouble and we’re demonstrating how it can be done in San Jose.”
The measure will force public employees to pay more into their pensions. Advocates of pension reform compare the situations in San Jose and San Diego to what’s going on locally.
“We have cities in Sacramento that are underwater,” said Marcia Fritz, California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. “We’ve got Lincoln that is seriously close to bankruptcy; we got Rocklin; we got Roseville.”
Fritz says it won’t be long before similar initiatives are on the ballot across the entire state of California, if the legislature doesn’t act fast to put pension reform on the ballot.
“If they don’t do it by June 28, I think what you’re going to see is cities all over California duplicating what San Diego and San Jose did yesterday,” said Fritz.
But unions aren’t surrendering, already filing legal grievances against changes to current employee pensions.
“The law is very clear, that when a public employer makes a promise to employees, a public employer has to keep that promise,” said a union lawyer.
Mayor Reed has also filed his own suit, asking the federal courts to declare his city’s pension cuts constitutional.