Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Before Napolitano comes to the Legislature for more money, she needs to find serious cost savings at each of the campuses, starting with reducing unsustainably high salaries for administrators and rich pensions that taxpayers cannot afford."

Sac Bee Editorial: University of California’s unfunded pension liability is a hard reality sandwich
some of it goes like this (p.s. Napolitano made a statement at the Regents meeting. she walked around to the speakers table, facing the regents. Usually the UC Pres just makes the opening comments from the chair among the regents. Also, Sac Bee seems to be monitoring her word count b/c they reference it here and they also referenced her word count on her Commonwealth speech- maybe highlighting wordiness and lack of content on the tough issues, or...):
In her prepared 2,500-word statement to the regents, the former Arizona governor and homeland security secretary used nine words to say how at least part of the additional money she is seeking would be spent: The university needs “additional funding for UC’s retirement plan and enrollment growth,” her statement to the regents says.

The money would not pay for smaller class sizes, or even higher faculty salaries, but rather escalating pension costs. Alas, the need for “additional funding for UC’s retirement plan” is a reality sandwich.

For 19 years ending in 2010, regents required no contribution into the UC pension fund, evidently believing pension fund investments would continue to increase in value in perpetuity. Now, the university must pay $1.2 billion a year toward pension costs to deal with its pension liability.

Students, their parents and taxpayers should not be expected to pay for UC’s mistake. Employees, especially ones whose salaries are at the upper levels, need to pay a greater share of their retirement.

Good government pensions were justifiable when government salaries lagged behind what people in private enterprise earned. But golden pension benefits are hardly reasonable now that University of California administrators’ salaries regularly exceed $200,000 a year.

The Bee’s editorial board endorsed Brown’s Proposition 30 to raise taxes by $6 billion a year in part so that the state could continue to invest in public education, which is fundamental to California’s future. However, the voters did not approve the tax hike so that people paid rich salaries can retire with fat pensions.

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