Old law keeps taxpayers on the hook for state employee pensions

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In 1999, former Governor Gray Davis signed a law called SB-400; and just like that, prison guards, park rangers, the highway patrol and other state workers were suddenly entitled to the kind of pensions most of us can only dream about. For instance, some CHP officers can retire at age 50 and still make $96,000 a year. Proponents of the bill said it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny, but they were wrong. Those pensions will cost California taxpayers $5.4 billion this year – more than the state will spend on the drought, emergency response, and fighting wildfires combined.

Credits

Guest:
Jack Dolan - Los Angeles Times - @jackdolanLAT

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Matt Holzman, Anna Scott, Jolie Myers, Christian Bordal, Sarah Sweeney