Friday, September 28, 2007

Californial Dreamin' Makes Sense For Kentucky

Newport Beach, California city council members killed a proposal this week to require a public vote before increasing pension benefits for public employees.

Kentucky and all its municipalities should do what Newport Beach didn't have the courage to do. And we should do it immediately.

If nothing else, by pushing back against the multi-billion dollar sea of red ink our politicians have poured on us with pension goodies for their cronies, we might get to see some serious issues aired out like this:

The Pilot also quoted the head of the city's firefighters union, arguing that the initiative would "be ground zero of a statewide war. … We don't want to go there." Well, a political war is brewing, as government pensions have gotten out of hand and as pension debt has soared. We know why the unions don't want to go there, given that they have the cushiest deal imaginable. But someone is going to have to go there, given that the current situation cannot be sustained without leading to bonds, tax increases or reduction in other government programs.

Writing in the Register's Orange Grove earlier this month, Lincoln Club officials Richard Wagner and David Bahnsen pointed out that San Francisco has had such a pension-vote measure for 100 years, which has resulted in that city having a fully funded pension system that is the model for the nation. San Diego voters approved a similar measure after "a string of pension mismanagement scandals resulted in a $1.3 billion retirement-fund shortfall that nearly caused the city to declare bankruptcy and led to five felony indictments of union, city and pension officials in January 2006."