Action slow so far on Gov. Brown's pension reforms

  • FILE - In this March 20, 2012, file photo, Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters about his tax initiative before speaking at the California Optometric Association in Sacramento, Calif. Brown finally succeeded in forging a compromise tax-hike initiative with a California teachers union, a deal he said increases the chances of success in November. Yet just the day after that deal was announced, the proponent of another tax proposal contributed another $1.5 million to her budding campaign, illustrating the difficulty Brown has had in clearing the field for his initiative. That proponent, wealthy Los Angeles attorney Molly Munger, is a first-time player on California's statewide political scene and has emerged as the governor's foil in the tax drama that has enveloped the capital for months. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SACRAMENTO — It's been six months since Gov. Jerry Brown put forward his proposals to make the public pension system more affordable, yet action on his 12-point plan has been nearly imperceptible.

That has led Republican lawmakers to accuse the Democrats who control the Legislature of stalling. Democrats acknowledge the slow pace, yet say they are making progress and intend to enact reforms before the session ends in August.

"It's not as fast as I would like, but it's complicated," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said this week during an appearance before the Sacramento Press Club.

He said Democrats have an obligation to deliver pension reform, particularly as they will ask voters in November to approve hikes to the income and sales taxes. But he also said they have "a different take" on parts of the governor's plan.

Brown's reform packaged called for increasing the retirement age to 67 for new, non-public safety employees and having local and state government workers pay more toward their pensions and retiree health care. Among other changes, the governor would put new workers in a hybrid plan that includes a 401(k)-style vehicle.

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