San Jose’s pension costs pose a true fiscal emergency

By Daniel Borenstein | Contra Costa Times — The city of San Jose faces a fiscal death squeeze as it tries to fund ballooning costs of employee retirement benefits.

Daniel BorensteinTo pay the bill, the city must lay off workers. Whereas 10 percent of general fund expenditures went toward pensions and retiree health care in 2007-08, this year it’s 22 percent. In the same four-year period, the city has eliminated 1,592 jobs, or 23 percent of the workforce. It’s going to get worse.

To be sure, other factors contribute to workforce reduction. But retirement costs are the most significant. And of the two key components driving those costs — pensions and health care for retirees — the former accounts for about 85 percent of the bill.  Continue reading . . .

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