Reading the Electoral Tea Leaves on Pensions

Two major cities had pension reform propositions on the ballot yesterday and were being watched concerning voter attitudes on the subject.

San Jose voters Tuesday handed Mayor Chuck Reed a crucial victory with his nationally watched pension reform measure passing by a decisive margin.  It was a big night for pension reform, with a San Diego measure also winning by a wide margin. City employee unions who argued the measures are illegal were expected to challenge both in court.  But voter approval of San Jose’s Measure B puts Reed and the city in the vanguard of efforts to shrink taxpayer bills for generous government pension plans. Passage also strengthen’s Reed’s hand as he and his City Council allies work to enact the measure’s reforms with a vote next week to reduce pensions for new hires…

Governor Brown has argued to unions and legislative Dems that if they don’t put his pension changes on the ballot, they will get worse from local elections.  These two results will strengthen that argument.  Note that UC has been trying to exempt itself from the governor’s pension proposal on the grounds that the Regents have already enacted reforms.  So far, that effort has not been successful.