Brown signs pension law, admits, 'It's not perfection'

LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed into law sweeping pension changes that will save California taxpayers billions of dollars in the future and aims to reform a system that is woefully underfunded.

Brown praised lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for reaching a deal that will increase the retirement age for new employees depending on their job, cap the annual payout at $132,120, eliminate numerous abuses of the system and require workers who are not contributing half of their retirement costs to pay more.

"These are hard fought. These aren't that easy," Brown said holding up the bills after he signed them at his office in Los Angeles.

California legislators have had trouble repairing the state's two main pension funds — the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the California State Teachers' Retirement System — that are at least $165 billion underfunded.

Calling it the biggest rollback to public pension benefits in the state's history, the legislation falls short of the 12-point proposal Brown offered last October. Many Republican lawmakers supported the changes but said much more needs to be done to fix a system with massive liabilities for current retirees and workers.

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