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Dec 07 2011

Poll Watch: A Majority of California Voters Favor Governor Jerry Brown’s Pension Reform Plans

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According to the latest California Field Poll.

Here’s another data point in the multidimensional chess game headed toward the ballot box next year: A majority of California voters like Gov. Jerry Brown’s pension plan for state workers, according to a new poll.

In the Field Poll, 51% of respondents said the proposal to raise the retirement age for new workers and require many current ones to pay more for their pensions strikes the right balance. Twenty-four percent said they think it goes too far, and 14% said they think it doesn’t go far enough.

A solid plurality of respondents — 41% — said they think public pensions are too generous, compared with 35% who said they think they’re fine. The percentage who look unfavorably toward pensions has steadily risen.

Now, all Democrat Governor Brown has to do is persuade the public employee unions who own the majority Democrats in the California Legislature to vote to place his reform measures on the November 2012 Presidential ballot.

There will be some massaging of the reforms making it to the ballot (if they do) but with the large turnout of Democrats to support the re-election of President Obama, the reforms may not pass anyway.

Pension reforms are needed (but California’s economic and budgetary problems don’t solely rest with state employee pensions), but I do not see cutting anyone’s pension benefits in California’s economic climate, gaining political interest or support.

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