Free Minds & Free Markets

'A Lot of Cities Signed Up for Pensions They Can’t Afford' Says California Gov. Jerry Brown: New at Reason

But he's leaving office without really addressing the state's massive public retirement problem.

Paul Simcock Tetra Images/NewscomPaul Simcock Tetra Images/NewscomIt's rare that a politician will say something that is praiseworthy and anger-inducing in the same breath. Nevertheless, Gov. Jerry Brown accomplished that unusual feat when he released his May revised budget, and told cities that the state government isn't in a position to help them with their soaring pension costs. "They have to handle that themselves," he explained during a briefing in the state Capitol.

His rationale for refusing to bail out hard-pressed local governments is compelling, concise and worthy of applause: "A lot of cities signed up for pensions they can't afford."

Why should taxpayers throughout the state pay more in taxes—or tolerate fewer services or more debt—to help those city governments that were fiscally irresponsible? They knew the risks, ignored the warnings and retroactively boosted pensions by as much as 50 percent over the past 15 years, yet now city officials are complaining about their tough fiscal position.

Cry me a river, writes Steven Greenhut.

Read the whole thing here.

Photo Credit: Paul Simcock Tetra Images/Newscom

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  • some guy||

    All of those city governments then turned to their constituents and said "You fucked up. You trusted us."

  • Cy||

    California - the next Detroit! I'm sure this time they'll all do us a favor and die instead of spreading the disease of modern progressives.

  • Illocust||

    Nah, by the time they go bankrupt, we'll have democrat control of the government again, and no way in hell is that party going to let it's biggest stronghold outside of New York fall. They'll end up bailed out on everyone elses backs.

  • Agammamon||

    Don't tell me Brown finally figured out what 'moral hazard' means.

    *Of course*, if you can buy local votes by offerimg money taken from people who not only don't get a say, but don't even know when its happening, you're going to do that.

    Whatever happened to 'no taxation without representation'?

  • Rich||

    These officials voted for these increases. Now they need to live with the results.

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