Marcia Fritz, California Foundation for Fiscal ResponsibilityAs of May, 2008, there were 4,820 CalPERS retirees receiving annual pensions in excess of $100,000. That didn’t include government retirees in 80 other plans in California—judges, UC, STRS, charter cities, and 1937 Act counties. About half of these retirees were public safety workers: cops, firefighters, prison guards. The remaining half includes former city managers, assistant managers, county executives, district attorneys, engineers, finance officers, personnel directors, computer scientists, and physicists.
Since May 2008, more than 120 new retirees have joined the “$100,000 Club” – each month - every month. That’s been going on for the last 12 months – more than 1,500 have joined that well-paid retirement group ; this rate of increase will accelerate as droves of retired public safety workers who are now in the $90,000 to $100,000 range receive annual cost of living increases.
ACCESS AN ONLINE, SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF THE 4,820 CalPERS RETIREES RECEIVING ANNUAL PENSIONS IN EXCESS OF $100,000 HERE.
Led by labor unions, this group has profited tremendously. When the dot com boom artificially inflated stock prices (giving pension funds surplus assets) those union representatives convinced former Senator Deborah Ortiz to carry SB 400 to give pension fund surpluses to government workers by increasing retirement benefits while lowering retirement ages. When real estate values exploded, developers’ fees, property taxes and sales taxes increased and labor negotiators demanded that those higher revenues be spent on higher worker salaries. The combination of generous formulas, lower retirement ages, and higher salaries (used in new formulas) means that career cops, among others, now receive pensions that exceed their final year’s wage, and for more years in retirement than they ever worked.