Never one to shy away from talking pension reform, San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio was clearly energized by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s recent conclusion that city could do more to cut its retirement costs.

He released three documents last week, (the first two are memos co-signed by frequent ally Councilwoman Donna Frye), which outline his ideas for future pension and budget deficit fixes, and a fourth memo that summarizes his thoughts.

The most important idea, which I have yet to fully investigate, is that employees could be responsible for paying more toward their retirements in years when the fund loses money in the stock market. In short, the city and employees should share the stock market risks to the pension system. (And presumably share the rewards in years the market does well.) Given that the market wreaked havoc on the system last year — a 19.2 percent decline in total assets — a change like this one could mean a great deal.

DeMaio’s analysis, which I’ll link here, also argues that pension and retiree health care payments will reach more than a quarter of the city’s day-to-day budget by 2013.


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