Assembly Democrats say they’re ramping up an effort to solve the long-term, crushing unfunded pension liability in the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).
“The Assembly will pursue a solution to the STRS shortfall this legislative session,” Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, said at a news conference today in Sacramento. “Further delay only means further cost and further exposure for the state’s general fund. We believe there must be shared responsibility for a funding solution between school districts, the state and teachers. Our end goal is a State Teachers Retirement system that is 100 percent fully funded.”
Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, said the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security Committee he chairs will start holding hearings next month.
“I am eager to begin this process and confident that an equitable and permanent solution can and will be found to the CalSTRS funding problem,” he said. “Ensuring the long term financial security of California’s hardworking and dedicated teachers is a goal we are hopeful we can achieve this year.”
As Jessica Calefati reported Sunday, CalSTRS’ unfunded liability is around $80.4 billion and constitutes a huge chunk of the looming costs threatening the state’s long-term fiscal health.
Perez and Bonta “are spot-on in calling for immediate action and shared sacrifice in addressing CalSTRS’ unfunded liability gap during the coming year,” Chiang said in a news release. “If lawmakers can meet the challenge with courage and fiscal prudence today, Californians can avoid a risis tomorrow that imperils not only teachers, but taxpayers and the education system in which they have entrusted our children’s future.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the state’s teachers’ unions buy into this (or don’t) especially regarding Perez’s call for “shared responsibility” including teachers.
The CalSTRS shortfall “does not have to be paid overnight,” the California Teachers Association states in its retirement position paper. “Like a mortgage, this is an amount that will need to be closed over a 30-year period. The shortfall has to be addressed, and teachers are committed to partnering with CalSTRS in finding a long-term funding solution.”