Tom Tait Joins Other CA Mayors In Sponsoring Pension Reform Initiative for 2014 Ballot

Mayor Tom Tait

Mayor Tom Tait

A group of California mayors, including Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, have submitted a request for title and summary for their Pension Reform Act of 2014 initiative. All are Democrats, except for Tait.


The mayor is proposing a state constitutional amendment intended to allow cuts in pensions earned by current state and local government workers in the future, while pensions already earned through time on the job would be protected.

Reed said private-sector pensions and public pensions in 12 other states have the flexibility to control costs by reducing pension amounts that current workers earn in the future.

Under the constitutional amendment, cuts in the pensions earned by current workers in the future could be bargained with unions or placed on ballots through initiatives. There also could be no change.

“It’s all about empowering cities to solve their own problems,” Reed said after addressing a pension conference last week at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. “How they do it will be up to them.”

Reed said the proposal is similar to the top recommendation of the bipartisan Little Hoover Commission in a 2011 report that warned rising pension costs could “crush” government.

“The Legislature should give state and local governments the authority to alter the future, unaccrued retirement benefits for current public employees,” said the report.

As Steve Greenhut puts it in his column:

The key portion of the initiative: It would amend the state Constitution “to give government agencies clear authority to negotiate changes to existing employees’ pension or retiree health-care benefits on a strictly going-forward basis,” according to a statement filed by initiative supporters. They note that federal law and laws in 18 states allow such changes – but that a series of California court cases have tied the hands of municipalities.

Given the magnitude of the state’s unfunded pension liability crisis, this initiative is both badly needed and entirely reasonable. It would solve the judicial impediment to serious reform by allowing state and local governments to modify their employees pensions on a going-forward basis, instead of past increases being locked in for the rest of a government workers active service

Kudos to Mayor Tait for joining stepping up with his fellow mayors. This initiative wouldn’t mandate that government unions have their members’ pensions modified on a going-forward basis, but it would provide a local governments with far greater flexibility to budget sensibly as pensions costs consume increasing shares of their budgets.

Expect over-wrought, apocalyptic rhetoric from the government unions.


  1. Stand For Anaheim

    Does this mean OCEA will not support Tom next year or his candidates? I hope so because it would be contradictory if they did. Wake up unions and Nick Berardino….Tait is not the guy you think he is. He is worse.

  2. I am in in support of pensions reform. But, how is this pension reform proposal going to effect his City Hall Secretary who was making $100k for part-time work – which he fought to protect?

    Seems like he is just looking for a way to get good press.

    • Yeah, this is the guy who supported cutting staffing on fire engines to 3 men in the busiest and/or poorest part of the city while keeping all engines in Anaheim Hills 4 man and added an additional engine on top of that. Anaheim Hills has the slowest call volume in the city with the richest residents. Oh yeah, it’s where Tait lives!!! His priorities never lie with the best interest of the City as a whole…he has lied to many groups throughout the city during his election and throughout his tenure as mayor! Be careful with him…He can NOT be trusted!!!!
      Did Tait tell you the City of Anaheim paid zero into the pensions for “12 years” while the employees did? A responsible government would’ve put the money aside knowing they would eventually have to begin contributing again! Oh yeah…Tait always forgets to inform the public of that!

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