The New Reed/DeMaio Initiatives
Comments from RPEA President George Linn
The expensive, incendiary and promise-breaking challenges that California retirees have confronted over the past several years have been oftentimes been linked to the efforts of Reed and DeMaio.
The initiative process in our state creates an open avenue for demagogues with money to make a run at shaping public policy from their own narrow viewpoint. We have seen several efforts by former San Jose Mayor, Chuck Reed, and former San Diego councilmember, Carl DeMaio, to make scapegoats out of public employees and blame our retirements for being the cause of any and all economic problems in California.
RPEA has been in the forefront of undermining their efforts to pass an initiative that would cripple retirement benefits—an initiative that has at times included decimating the retirement benefits of those who have already retired. Yes, a second bite at the apple for those who don’t believe that the contract made with retired employees is sacrosanct.
Reed and DeMaio are extremists who have taken advantage of people’s fears and employed the ugliest kind of fear-mongering. They have not been successful because public employees have refused to allow them to advance punitive ideas at the expense of employees who have done their jobs well and are entitled to security in their retirement years.
We have written extensively about Reed and DeMaio. We have also participated in developing a strategy for responding to them with the simple facts regarding the vibrancy that a healthy retirement system brings to the California economy.
Earlier this month, Reed and DeMaio retreated yet again and withdrew an initiative that was deservedly excoriated by policymakers and failed to get the support of either major party.
Today, they have come back with a re-drafted initiative that they intend to put on the ballot. Our legislative advocate, Aaron Read, did an immediate reading of the proposal. He quickly surmised that it cut from the same cloth as those that preceded it.
Specifically, for all new hires after January 2019, it caps the amount of money an employer can pay for retirement – miscellaneous employees are capped at 11% and public safety at 13%. Really? The authors knew from the get-go what Aaron spotted immediately, which is that such a drastic reduction will close existing plans, and the costs will skyrocket.
The course for RPEA is obvious. We will continue to oppose Mr. Reed and Mr. DeMaio and the attacks they continue to make against honest Californians. Please don’t sign any initiative that has their name attached to it.
Click here to read the full text of 15-0076 - Voter Empowerment Act of 2016: 15-0076
Click here to read the full text of 15-0077 - Government Pension Cap Act of 2016: 15-0077