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Public Pension Crisis in California

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

SoCal ASPA forum series

Public attention has increasingly focused on mounting public employee retiree costs in California as a significant driver of state and local government expenditures. A panel of public administrators and researchers will discuss the reforms proposed to address the pension crisis, including the state’s bipartisan Little Hoover Commission’s much-debated report. Among the issues the panelists will consider:

  • Can California’s pension crisis be resolved through asset gains, or are reductions in current or future benefits required?
  • Should the Legislature authorize the transition to a hybrid pension system with reduced defined benefits and a new 401(k) style system?
  • Should voter approval of pension plan changes be required?
  • Does the pension crisis threaten to fundamentally alter the relationships between government, employees and taxpayers?
  • With defined contributions largely replacing defined benefits in the private sector, how can maintaining defined benefit public pensions be justified in the eyes of the public?
  • What will be the major political and legal obstacles for resolving the crisis?

Dan Mazmanian, Director, Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development

Stuart Drown, Executive Director, Little Hoover Commission
Ed Derman, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, CalSTRS
Julie Butcher, Regional Director-Los Angeles/Orange County Cities, Service Employees International Union 721
Bruce Channing, City Manager, City of Laguna Hills &President-Elect of the City Managers Committee of the League of California Cities
Juliet Musso, Associate Professor & Director of, Graduate Programs in Public Policy and Management, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development

Bedrosian Center