Stateline, a news-summary organization funded by the Pew Center on the States, is reporting that state pension funds have become a campaign issue in many states. The funds, many of which were hurt by the sharp decline in stock values in 2008, face long-term funding concerns. In Ohio, some of the funds are seeking additional public support to solve their problems.
California is the place where pension politics is surfacing almost everywhere. At the local level, voters in at least 10 cities, including San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose, will consider ballot initiatives Nov. 2 aimed at reducing benefits for newly hired city employees with a higher retirement age and increased worker contributions.
The Stateline report is available here.
Today, Ohio candidate for state auditor Dave Yost proposed that the state conduct an analysis of public vs. private sector pay and benefits. In his press release, he said:
Several recent reports have shown that public sector employees in Ohio are compensated more generously than their private sector counterparts. Those skewed results place an unnecessary burden on taxpayers, and make it more difficult for Ohio to be competitive in keeping and attracting jobs...
The wage disparity between private and public sector employees has unwelcome effects. High public sector wages drive up the cost of government and worsen the potential for insolvent public pension funds. They also distort the labor market. In good economic times, private sector businesses competing for talent will face upward pressure on wages.