Don't Cut Out the Facts on California Pensions and the Economy
July 9, 2014
Your recent guest commentary, “Million-dollar pensioner highlights role payouts play in California’s fiscal mess” by Mark Bucher, president of the California Policy Center, attempts to blame pension costs as the primary source of California’s economic woes.
The fact is the majority of CalPERS retirees receive only 50 percent of their highest pay or less in pension benefits, with an average pension of $31,500 per year. Unlike the private sector, about 40 percent of CalPERS retirees don’t receive Social Security and their CalPERS pension is their sole source of retirement income.
While the $100,000 per year pensions receive high publicity, the fact is they only represent 2.6 percent of CalPERS retiree payments.
Retiree benefits actually fuel our economy and generate more than $30 billion in economic activity, including nearly $800 million in sales and property tax revenue. These facts stand on their own as a true testament of how public pensions drive our economy.