AJR 10 would oppose a federal bailout of California’s pension system
SACRAMENTO - Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) has introduced Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 10, to oppose any attempt by the state of California to receive a federal bailout for our state debt.
“I am proposing this preemptive measure because I firmly believe that each state is responsible for their own fiscal decisions. California taxpayers should not be held accountable for the failed fiscal policies of other states, just as others should not be on the hook for ours,” said Grove. “The ‘balanced’ budget Governor Brown unveiled last month conveniently ignored billions of dollars in unfunded pension liability, and the changes made to public pensions in recent years will only save the state a fraction of what it spends on these obligations. We can’t just ignore these numbers, and we should not expect a federal bailout. I want to bring more attention to the fact that the California legislature alone needs to seriously and significantly address our billions in state debt.”
The California State Teachers Retirement Fund (CalSTRS) released a report earlier this week revealing a $64 billion dollar pension deficit, while the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) puts its unfunded pension liability at $49 billion dollars, plus billions more in state retiree health care benefits. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has stated that the Governor’s budget does not adequately address California’s pension liabilities.
Principal co-author of the measure is Assemblyman Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), who served four terms as a Lassen County Supervisor before being elected to the state legislature. Lassen County was debt-free during his tenure and remains so today.
“We shouldn’t saddle future generations with our poor financial decisions,” said Dahle.
The “No Pension Bailout” measure is part of a nationwide campaign initiated by the Illinois Policy Institute, a leading free market think tank. The effort began last year after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, proposed that the federal government guarantee Illinois' severely underfunded pension systems. According to a study
by the Institute, federal bailouts would require taxpayers in states like Texas and North Dakota to subsidize the pensions of fiscally irresponsible states like Illinois and California.
“Many think that California is too big to fail. But like President Obama’s home state of Illinois, California is a model of the liberals’ plan to tax and spend us further into debt,” stated Grove. “By taking a stand against bailouts we’re saying that states need to fix their own fiscal problems and not pass the buck to taxpayers in the rest of the country.”
Joint resolutions such as AJR 10 express an opinion about an issue pertaining to the federal government, and are sent to Congress once passed by both houses of the state legislature. They do not require approval from the Governor.
Shannon Grove represents the Kern County communities of Bakersfield, Ridgecrest, Tehachapi, Taft and Frazier Park/Lebec.