AB 2451 is built on the fiction, perpetrated by unions eager to use emotional claims to divert more tax dollars to their members, that police officers and firefighters have such dangerous jobs that they die early and leave their families destitute.
But based on data from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the longest-living category of public employee is a police officer, followed closely behind by firefighters. They live, on average, well into their 80s, which is one of the reasons the state has such a large unfunded pension liability. Public-safety workers receive, by far, the most generous pension and health-care benefits. In California, they can retire with 90 percent of their final year’s pay at age 50—and spouses receive generous benefits too. Police and firefighters don’t come near the top of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most-dangerous jobs.
The Democrats are always talking about shared sacrifice, yet the same-old, same-old takes place in the Capitol—powerful interest groups keep pushing for, and often getting, more.
The state is out of cash. [Gov. Jerry] Brown reminds us of that every chance he can. Cities are teetering on bankruptcy, thanks largely to pensions, medical benefits, and other compensation paid to municipal employees. Taxpayers and job-creators are fleeing the state. Legislators should be reforming the system so that California can be competitive again. Instead, they want to keep comforting the comfortable (union members) and afflicting the afflicted (taxpayers).