Meg Whitman, one of the GOP candidates for governor in California, should be someone who is in favor of pension reform in California. This means she would be an enemy to everyone with a CalPERS pension.
However, Whitman has refused to support the pension benefit cap ballot measure proposed by California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. In fact, people in Whitman’s organization are telling donors not to support the pension reform ballot measure. The reason for this is because support for pension reform would trigger a bitter fight from the many government labor unions that are in California from the teachers to the police officers.
The labor unions were able to defeat pension reform measures brought by Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger a few years ago. This means labor unions have a history of ballot box success when their benefits are on the line.
Whitman said in an op-ed piece from the Orange County Register:
On pension reform, we need to align public employee retirement benefits to those available in the private sector. New state workers should receive a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan. For most existing state workers, we need to increase the retirement age from 55 to 65, require longer vesting periods, and ask them to contribute more to their retirement benefits.
We can’t afford to kick the can down the road and hope the structural problems in state government will magically disappear. The time has come to address our fiscal problems head on. I understand how tough this challenge will be. But if we operate from a mindset of doing the right thing for California taxpayers, we can solve the problems.
All of this sound real good even though she is trying to throw the pension reform measure under the bus. Perhaps this is a way for her to sound good in front of the Tea Bagger crowd while not drawing too much attention from the labor unions may make the labor unions concentrate on defending Barbara Boxer’s vulnerable senate seat in 2010.