Across California, the cost of retirement benefits for public employees remains untamed. The total cost to state and local governments as well as schools and colleges has more than tripled since 2003—and projections indicate the burden in coming years will continue to grow.
Payments for public employee pensions and retiree health care benefits are putting so much pressure on government budgets that many are having to choose between service cuts and raising taxes. Gov. Jerry Brown has called the issue a “moral obligation” and the association of California cities now predicts that the growth will be “unsustainable.”
CALmatters recently took an in-depth look at what we know and don’t know about retiree debt, working on the topic in collaboration with the Los Angeles Times and Capital Public Radio. Here are the highlights of what they have learned, based on a comprehensive look at key data sources and perspectives from experts and advocates.