California cities have been told that their recent and somewhat earth-shattering municipal votes to curtail future public employee pensions will not end up being trumped by state legislation, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
State Senate leader Darrell Steinberg told reporters Thursday that pension-reform measures passed soundly by voters will not be spontaneously overruled by Sacramento leaders, though a further round of pension reform is still a hot subject at the state capital.
"I would not favor doing anything that would affect the voter-approved initiatives," he told the newspaper, on the eve of the Legislature's summer recess.
The statement came after concerns were raised that the recent community votes in both San Jose and San Diego - which supported local leaders' efforts to contain future city costs by limiting pension benefit increases, upping employees' contributions and pushing new hires into 401(k)-styled plans - might be "pre-empted" by state-level politicians.
The mayors of both cities wrote letters to Steinberg and California Assembly Speaker John Perez, compelling them to respect the local voters' decisions.
"The people of San Jose have decided that reducing the cost of pensions is far better than continuing to reduce services and employee pay," wrote San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. "Any effort to override the reforms approved by our voters would be a travesty of the democratic process and a violation of the voters' constitutional rights."