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Comparing public retirements to private

8:00 AM, Aug 5, 2011   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - The debate over public pension reform is about to get even hotter.

California's state and local government workers make salaries similar to those at large private-sector employers, but get significantly higher retirement benefits.

Those conclusions are part of report, "Comparing Public and Private Employee Compensation and Retirement Benefits in California", by consultants hired by the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a nonprofit involved in research on pension reform.

READ REPORT: Comparing Public and Private Employee Compensation and Retirement Benefits in California 

The group shares roots and some advisers with an organization preparing a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to force changes in government pensions.

The study found taxpayers spend roughly three times what large private employers spend per employee for pensions and retiree.

The study found that more than 9,000 state employees collect pensions of $100,000 or more.

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A 45-year-old state employee halfway through a 30year career making $60,000 gets $46,492 in annual benefits. Plus they collect $106,000 upon retirement.

Compare that to a private sector worker who gets $30,000 in benefits and retires with $89,000.

In law enforcement, the numbers are higher.

According to the study, a high ranking CHP official retiring at age 53, can collect $2.2 million in retirement benefits. That's one third more than an FBI conterpart who can collect $1.6 million.

"It doesn't make sense for our taxes to go up and pay for pensions that better than ours," pension reform advocate Marcia Fritz said.

CalPERS, California's $230 billion retirement fund defends the numbers.

"There's a trade-off, while state pensions may be more secure, there's a trade-off for lower salaries and wages," CalPERS spokesman Brad Pachec said.

Pension reform talks are heating up in the legislature also. Several bills are passing through the legeslature to prevent pension fraud, spiking and double-dipping.

News10/KXTV

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