Sanders expecting his city to be the next big battle over public employee benefits
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governors and mayors nationwide facing budget deficits are focusing on the costs of public employee pensions and retiree healthcare benefits. In San Diego an initiative has qualified for the June ballot that would, among other things, end guaranteed pensions for all new city hires, excluding police officers, replacing them with a 401(k)-style plan. Mayor Jerry Sanders, who played a key role in crafting the controversial initiative as a private citizen, says the initiative will save at least $1.2 billion over the next three decades.
Mayor Sanders will discuss his city's pension reform efforts, his plan approved last month to address soaring healthcare expenses for retired city workers, and San Diego's economic future during a National Press Club Newsmaker news conference, 10:00 a.m. Monday, February 13, 2012, National Press Building, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, D.C.When Sanders took office in 2005, the city of San Diego was rocked by a pension-underfunding scheme that put the city's bond disclosures under Securities & Exchange Commission investigation and caused the city's credit rating to be suspended. The New York Times dubbed San Diego "Enron-by-the-Sea." In 2006, Sanders backed a voter-approved initiative, which now requires any increase in pension benefits to be approved by voters. In addition, employees hired after July 1, 2009 are put into a separate pension plan in which they contribute more toward their retirement savings and bear more investment risk – similar to private-sector plans. The new system, which has become a model for other state and municipal pension programs, will save the city an estimated $36 million over the next decade. The recently approved retiree healthcare plan will save taxpayers more than $700 million over the next 25 years. Sanders is also available to speak about a number of major projects he is pursuing, including a new $180 million central library downtown, which will open next year, as well a large expansion of the city's Convention Center and a new sports and entertainment district, to be anchored by a multi-use stadium. SOURCE National Press Club