UPDATED: These two ballot measures both passed overwhelmingly. In San Diego, two-thirds of voters favored Proposition B. Meanwhile, Measure B in San Jose won with 70 percent of the vote.
Two closely watched pension reform measures – one in San Jose and the other in San Diego – were headed for clear victory on Tuesday.
In San Jose, Measure B was leading with more than 70 percent of the vote, while Proposition B in San Diego was winning with 69 percent. Under San Jose’s measure, current city employees will have to pay up to 16 percent of their salaries to hold onto their retirement plan otherwise they will have to accept scaled-back benefits. New hires will get far less generous benefits.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat, pushed hard to persuade a majority of City Council members to put the measure on the ballot.
Meanwhile, San Diego’s Proposition B calls for a six-year freeze on pay levels used to determine pension benefits. The City Council can override the freeze with a two-thirds majority vote.
It also creates a second tier system of benefits for all new hires, except for police officers. The new system includes a 401(k)-style pension plan.
There’s likely to be a legal challenge coming. But, regardless, expect to see other cities and counties following down this road. If current labor negotiations fail to come up with some meaningful changes, Sonoma County would be the best candidate to consider such a ballot measure.
- Paul Gullixson