SACRAMENTO, Calif., February 26, 2018 – Five organizations filed Amicus Briefs last week in support of the State of California in the pension reform case of Cal Fire v. CalPERS. Each brief articulates the constitutional right of the legislature to adjust future pension benefits and the grave threat to state and local economies posed by the increasing pension contribution requirements and the ever-increasing balance of unfunded liabilities. Governor Brown is defending PEPRA in the litigation brought by public employee unions. The organizations that submitted briefs are: Pacific Research Institute, California Business Roundtable, the City of Pacific Grove, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and League of California Cities.

According to Wayne Winegarden, a senior fellow at Pacific Research Institute, “California has a seriously underfunded pension system that threatens the state’s economy and funding for education, public safety, and other critical programs. The pension reforms supported by Gov. Brown and the Legislature represent the first steps of what must be done to fix a broken system. Moreover, the legislature has the legal authority to enact reasonable reforms that would help mitigate a pension crisis in the state.”

Common to each of the excellent briefs is the argument against the judicially created “California Rule” that, as applied, requires that any reduction in pension benefits be offset by a different but comparable benefit. Chuck Reed, chair of Retirement Security Initiative, said, “We commend the organizations that filed briefs in support of the Governor. The California Rule was ill-considered, has been inappropriately applied, and it has made necessary modifications of public pension benefits virtually impossible.”  

Upholding the lower court ruling and rejecting the California Rule opens public pension plans to reasonable reform that would put plans on a path to long-term sustainability and deliver retirement security for public employees and retirees.

About Retirement Security Initiative

Retirement Security Initiative (RSI) is a national, bipartisan advocacy organization focused on protecting and ensuring the fairness and solvency of public sector retirement plans. Our mission is to inform and educate policy leaders and the public regarding the importance of fair and sustainable public sector retirement plans, and organize and support policy development and advocacy efforts at the federal, state and local levels. Learn more at