are in no hurry to make steep cuts in the system, according to a new USC
Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.
A majority agreed with the statement that public workers “didn’t create the
problem with the pension system” and that any solution must include adequate
retirement benefits. When public workers were identified as “teachers, police
and firefighters,” that statement had 51% support. Even when no occupation was
given, nearly half — 47% — of respondents agreed.
Far fewer agreed with the statement that “we can’t continue to ignore this issue
when our debts keep piling up” and that cuts must be made immediately. Only 38%
agreed with that statement. When workers’ occupations were not identified, 40%
it is spending $3 billion to help pay retirees’ pensions, and its largest public
pension fund recently cut its forecasted investment returns, which will increase
the burden on taxpayers. A recent study by the National Assn. of State
Retirement Administrators found that pension costs eat up a larger share of
But the greatest effect is at the local level, where some cities have had to
spend a majority of their payroll budget on retirees. A potential ballot measure
to curtail pension benefits in
backers claimed that its state-mandated language, which cited firefighters and
police officers, was biased. Some cities, like
their own local ballot initiatives to cut pensions.
Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed his own 12-point pension plan, which includes
raising the retirement age to 67 for new workers and enrolling them in a partial
401(k) program. But the Democrats who control the state Legislature have been
cool to the proposal.
The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times
polled 1,500 registered
was conducted by the Democratic firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner in conjunction
with the Republican firm American Viewpoint. It has a margin of error of 2.9