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Statement: “The Republican campaign is taking credit for the pick-up savings, even though that has already been eliminated through collective bargaining between the city and its employees,” Evan McLaughlin, political director for the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, wrote in a June 30 press release.

Determination: False

Analysis: The June 2012 ballot measure that would give most new city of San Diego employees 401(k)s instead of pensions has lots of different parts.

One element seeks to get rid of a long-established pension perk.

The city and its employees contribute to the city’s pension system. The city can “pick up” or pay a percentage of the employees’ contribution. How much the city picks up increases an employee’s take-home pay by the same amount. Until recently, the city had a history of picking up these costs. In 2005, it paid between 7 percent and 11 percent of the employees’ pension contribution.

The ballot measure seeks to eliminate the city’s ability to pick up those costs any longer.

For the most part these pickups already have been done away with during the past few years, but right now the city can offer them in the future. Back when supporters of the ballot measure released an initial financial analysis in April they included savings from permanently doing away with the already eliminated pickups. They claimed more than $25 million in savings each of the first five years. We cried foul.


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This time, the measure’s financial analysis only includes savings from eliminating the remaining pickups for the city’s white-collar and lifeguard unions. That’s fair.

Backers now claim $1.2 million in savings in each of the first five years. Supporters said the savings from eliminating them for other employee groups already had been included in the city’s official financial forecasts so they left them out of the analysis.

Since backers of the ballot measure changed how they calculated savings, McLaughlin was wrong that they were taking credit for costs that already had been eliminated. He said he would no longer use that argument. We’re calling his statement False.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org. What claim should we explore next?

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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