Half of California voters support pension reform for state and local agency workers, while another 14 percent say it doesn’t go far enough, according to a recent Field Poll.
The findings are based on a survey of 1,000 registered voters interviewed in November and are a marked increase from 2009 when a similar poll found that only 32 percent of voters felt public pensions were too generous.
Opinions about pensions appear to be somewhat split among political lines, with 58 percent of Republicans saying government pensions were too generous, but only 34 percent of Democrats agreeing. And among responders who were union members, only 27 percent said public pensions were too much, with 48 percent saying they were about right.
In Novato, city staff has spent lots of time negotiating with employee bargaining units and made some headway in time for the 2010-11 budget approval, including furloughs. Those in favor of more pension concessions often blame retirement costs for city budget deficits and cry out for employees to contribute more to their own retirement funds.
From the standpoint of union employees, the viewpoint is often that city leaders should have planned better years ago to avoid massive unpaid liabilities and not suddenly point fingers on those who have worked hard to secure solid compensation in their retirement years. After all, the city reached agreement with bargain units on the current contributions and benefits, right?
It's not just a controversial issue in the Novato city government. It's an issue with other special districts supported by taxpayer dollars as well, such as the Novato Sanitary District, the North Marin Water District and the Novato Fire District.
What's the answer? Which side are you on?