San Jose Mayor Files Pension Ballot Initiative

In a move that portends a labor firestorm, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and four other city leaders filed papers on Tuesday aiming to put a public pension measure on the November 2014 statewide ballot.
October 16, 2013

In a move that portends a labor firestorm, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and four other city leaders filed papers on Tuesday aiming to put a public pension measure on the November 2014 statewide ballot.

If approved, the measure sent to Attorney General Kamala Harris would change the California Constitution to give state and local government employers authority to lower current employees’ pension and retiree health benefits prospectively. Until now, most legal experts have concluded that the state constitution protects pensions promised to workers on their first day at work as a “vested right” that can’t be reduced without comparable compensation in return.

“It’s an empowering initiative for governments,” Reed said during a Tuesday afternoon telephone interview.

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