Pension progress in Riverside County

Editorial | The Press-Enterprise — Riverside County cannot close its budget shortfalls while sustaining some of the most lavish retirement benefits around. The county needs to rein in employee costs in order to close a persistent budget gap. And that effort should include county employees paying their share of pension contributions.

The county this week imposed pay and benefit changes on the 5,800 employees belonging to the Service Employees International Union Local 721, after contract negotiations broke down earlier this month. The new contract would save $5.4 million this year, and $23.6 million over three years, county officials say. Much of the savings would come from workers paying more toward their retirements. The county has been paying the employee portion of pension costs for general workers — 8 percent of salary — after the first five years of employment. That outlay is on top of the county’s share, currently 13 percent of payroll for general employees. The new contract requires those workers to pay 3 percent of salary toward pensions starting Dec. 1, climbing to the full 8 percent annually by 2013.  Continue reading . . .

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