CONLON PROPOSES TO SOLVE THE STATES UNFUNDED PENSION LIABILITIES
As California Us Senate Greg Conlon would automatically be a member of the pension board of both Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) when he is sworn in and takes office.
This would provide him an opportunity to work with all stakeholders including the Public Employees and the two teachers unions to address probably the most challenging and detrimental financial issues facing the State today. Although the Governor did make some changes in the Public Employees Pension Benefits for all new employees being hired from this point on, he did not change the teacher benefits at all and the serious unfunded liability is probably worst because the newspapers recently indicated that the Teachers funded is unfunded by close to $80 billion and if nothing is changed the fund would be empty by 2046 and the teachers, who are not eligible for Social Security, would have zero pension funds to live on at that time.
The Teachers fund would have to be addressed first because it is more serious in nature as just explained. Conlon would work with the stakeholders and the Legislature, as well as the Governor’s Office, to come up with changes to reduce the unfunded liability to an acceptable level. Hehas had experience as President of the California Public Utilities Commission for two years working with a joint committee of the legislature to draft a bill to restructure the generation and transmission system of the State’s electric grid. This effort required him to be present for almost 30 continuous days in the Committee Room helping hammer out the bill that passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously, except for one vote.
This will be the kind of effort required to make changes to such a controversial issue, but Conlon believes it can be done with his leadership in working with all parties involved—the legislature, the Governor’s Office and the unions.