Saturday, May 21, 2011

Legislative Analyst Identifies $1.5 Million in Cuts from Brown's May Budget

The Sacramento Bee reports that the Legislative Analyst's Office is continuing to lambaste the proposals coming out of Jerry Brown's May budget revise. Its latest target: Brown's proposal to send $1.5 million to CalPERS so that the pension fund can perform a study of hybrid pension plan options.

While we like the idea of introducing defined-contribution features into public pensions, the LAO is right to smack this down. For one thing, it's impossible to tell what Brown is thinking with regard to hybrid pension plans, and without any sort of concrete proposal, it's hard to justify throwing money at a research project. For another, CalPERS is a poor choice to conduct the study: its interests aren't necessarily the same as those of other public pension funds in California, it has already made its distaste for hybrid plans known, and it already has plenty of money and the mandate to pursue such research. And, though it's not mentioned by the LAO, we're talking about a new proposal to spend $1.5 million on a pointless study instead of using unexpectedly increased revenues to bridge the state's budget gap without tax increases. The Legislature should reject Brown's request for these funds, if only to avoid galling the taxpayers any more than they already have this week.


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