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Unions, Democrats Gut California Pension Reform

After months of talk and an unusual amount of behind-the-scenes wrangling, California Governor Jerry Brown’s pension reform deal was a bit of a disappointment. A piece in the Mercury News explains how Brown’s and the Democrats’ political ties to unions convinced them to water down pension reform and once again stick California taxpayers with the bill:

This year, Brown faced added pressure of his own making: He needs the unions’ support for Proposition 30, his November ballot proposal to temporarily raise the state sales taxes and income taxes on higher-income earners to help ease California’s budget crisis.

While Brown and Democratic lawmakers removed some provisions that were most onerous to public employee unions, labor groups still complained about the changes, calling them an overreaction to an economic crisis caused by risky actions on Wall Street.

Brown’s deal includes some tweaks that do help, but overall this is looking like yet another missed opportunity. With a deficit that keeps getting worse and worse, one wonders how many chances California has left.

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