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What Is Measure B?
Measure B is an illegal and unjust initiative appearing on the June 5, 2012 San Jose ballot. Falsely claiming to provide reasonable changes to city pensions, it wastes millions of tax dollars on high-priced lawyers while delaying real San Jose pension reform for years while it’s tied up in court. The extremist measure unfairly slashes the modest pay of librarians, 911 operators, park rangers and other city workers, forcing many of them out of their homes and out of our city. San Jose needs real solutions that work, NOT Measure B.
Claim vs. Reality
Claim: Current employees pay an additional 16% of salary to keep current retirement plan, or opt-in to a system that slashes retirement security and increases retirement age. (Section 1506-A & 1507-A)
Reality: Ignores sixty years of court rulings overturning similar proposals due to violation of contract clause of the U.S. Constitution and California Constitution.
Reality: Measure B pension modification will be tied up in lengthy court battle, with little hope of survival. Millions of taxpayer dollars will be wasted on high-priced lawyers.
Reality: The opt-in program requires IRS approval which hasn’t been granted to any opt-in plan since 2005. With no opt-in, ALL employees forced to take an additional 16% reduction.
Reality: Most city workers will see their salary reduced by one-quarter between 2011-2013 even if Measure B fails. With Measure B, that’s a 42% wage reduction between 2011-2016.
Reality: City employees are not eligible for Social Security. Their pension is all they have for retirement. There is no safety net.
Claim: Measure applies to all City employees
Reality: Measure B does not apply to the Mayor or City Council. Their pensions are untouched by Measure B
Claim: Curbs abuses to disability retirement benefits, by defining an employee disabled if they cannot do the work they did before, and cannot perform any other job described in the City’s classification plan in their retirement system. (Section 1509-A)
Reality: Employees severely injured while providing City services aren’t considered disabled if they can perform ANY other job – even if no openings exist for that position!
Claim: Prohibits any enhanced retirement benefits without voter approval. (Section 1504-A)
Reality: Significantly undercuts basic worker rights regarding collective bargaining. Similar collective bargaining attacks are underway in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere, funded by the right-wing and tea-party activists.
Reality: Negotiations are typically a give-and-take process. Past pay adjustments have been relinquished in exchange for better retirement security. This effectively prevents such negotiations.
Claim: Suspends Cost of Living Adjustments for retirees for up to five years during a fiscal emergency (Section 1510-A).
Reality: Courts have consistently ruled that reductions like these are unlawful.
Reality: The average Federated retirement payment is $37,880 – considered low-income in Santa Clara County according to the California Dept. of Housing. Taking away more will drive many retirees further into poverty.
Impact on a Typical City Worker
For the past seven years, Carlos has been protecting us from dangerous, aggressive animals. They may be loose on the streets endangering our children and pets, or trained as attack dogs guarding houses with drug activity. A life-long San Jose resident, Carlos and his wife recently bought their first home, have a newborn son, and another child on the way. They are active in their church and community, and hope to raise their children in San Jose.
He’s an Animal Services Officer, with a base pay of $53, 365. That’s much less than he was making a year ago, after a 12% wage reduction and higher health costs. And he’ll lose another $8,000 next year from increased contributions to pre-fund retiree health care. If Measure B passes, he’ll lose another $8,000.
“Times are tough right now. Just paying for the baby, our health care bills, and the house is a struggle after these cuts, We certainly don’t go out to dinner much anymore. If Measure B passes, I don’t know what we’ll do. I really want to raise my kids in San Jose, just like me, but we’ll have to move after a hit like this.” — Carlos
The Bottom Line
Annual Base Pay as of May 2011:
MEASURE B FAILS – Estimated Salary FY 2017
MEASURE B PASSES and OPT-IN CHOSEN – Estimated Salary FY2017
MEASURE B PASSES and NO OPT-IN – Estimated Salary FY2017
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