California Pension Squabble Prompts State Legislation

January 7, 2011

It didn't take long, unsurprisingly, for the controversy over pensions at the University of California to produce a political reaction in the state. To bipartisan applause, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, a state legislator introduced legislation Thursday that would require all public retirement programs in California to adhere to an Internal Revenue Service salary cap when calculating benefits for employees who join them, beginning in 2012. The measure is a direct and purposeful response to the threat of a lawsuit by a group of senior officials at the University of California unless the university recalculates their retirement benefits to base them on their actual salaries, rather than on the first $245,000 of their pay as the IRS cap requires. The employees say the university committed a decade ago to lifting the cap for them, but UC leaders say they will not do so. "They really need to come down from their ivory tower and see and feel what real people are going through," State Assemblyman Jerry Hill, who sponsored the legislation, told the San Francisco paper.

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