California's Pension Watershed suggests the Democratically controlled state legislature doesn't want to let the people vote and the public sector unions want the courts to have the final say in that state's public sector pension plan funding fiasco.
Voters in San Diego and San Jose recently said otherwise, so it makes for a most interesting situation.
Subtitled 'Voters in San Diego and San Jose reform what Sacramento won't,' here's what the article has to say:
"Government reformers notched several victories on Tuesday, including
two in California, of all places. Voters in San Diego and San Jose—the
state's second and third largest cities—overwhelmingly approved two of
the most aggressive pension reforms the country has seen in recent years
by a more than two-to-one margin.
Both cities have laid off hundreds of
workers in recent years to pay their soaring pension bills, and
bankruptcy is possible without reining in benefits. Voters in San Diego
sought to avert insolvency by shifting new hires to defined-contribution
plans, which will take taxpayers permanently off the hook for future
workers' pensions. San Jose's ballot measure created a bigger splash
because it reduces benefits for current workers; most state and local
pension reforms have only affected new hires. Employees will have to
choose between accepting a lower level of benefits going forward or
paying up to 16% more of their salary to keep their current plans.
Because the unions couldn't stop these reforms at the ballot box,
they'll try to block them in court. The unions argue that reducing the
pensions of current employees violates California's constitution, which
forbids governments from impairing contracts. What is unclear under
state law is whether workers' contracts include their unaccrued
benefits in addition to those they've already earned. No other
California city has recently tried to scale back unearned benefits, so
the lawsuit will help clarify state law.
Voters had to take matters into their own hands because Democrats in
Sacramento won't even bring Democratic Governor Jerry Brown's pension
proposals to a vote. Once again the Golden State's referendum process
has proved its democratic worth by letting voters leap over union
An old legal saying goes like this, "When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the facts aren't on your side, argue the law."
The unions will be arguing the law in court, and the state legislature will try to keep from ever having to vote on the issue. Meanwhile, voters will try to make their feelings abundantly clear through the state's referendum process, as they did in San Diego and San Jose
Of course, We the People will be well advised to watch all this closely as well.