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It’s not surprising to see a majority of likely voters saying they will vote for the pension reform initiative, but the recent independent analysis of its likely costs gives reason for serious concern.

First, the change to a 401(k) plan was found to have a net cost of $13.5 million, because apparently the pension reforms already enacted are actually more cost-effective than those now proposed. That cost is supposed to be made up by a five-year freeze on city employee pay, but it only works if the freeze occurs (it is not assured) and if pay continues to be held back after the freeze expires — for 25 years. What’s the chance of that happening?

As well, in the first few years, this initiative is acknowledged by all sides to be a net drag on the city budget of tens of millions each year. This initiative may appeal to people’s resentment toward city employees, but it looks like a fiscal bomb that could make things much, much worse for taxpayers.

Chris Brewster lives in Pacific Beach.


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