California Doles Out Pensions Worth At Least $100,000 To Nearly 20,000 Government Retirees

Emma Colton Deputy Editor
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Nearly 20,000 retired government workers across California each received at least $100,000 in pension funds during the 2014 fiscal year, Transparent California announced on Tuesday.

Transparent California, a watchdog website provided by the Nevada Policy Research Institute, revealed 19,728 former government retirees across California received monthly stipends of $8,333.34 or more — adding up to at least a $100,000 a year for each person. According to the group, this is a nearly 35 percent increase from 2012’s pension costs.

“With retirement costs expanding to as much as ten times what private employers are paying, maintaining the status quo is extremely irresponsible,” research director for Transparent California Robert Fellner said in a statement.

The data was acquired from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which revealed 2014’s top three pension receivers in California were two academics and a county administrator.

Former California State University, Sacramento president Donald Gerth retired in 2003 and received $305,002 in pension funds last year. University of California, Los Angeles professor Joaquin Fuster retired in 2002 and pulled-in $325,278. Former Solano County administrator Michael D. Johnson retired in 2011 and made the biggest bucks, earning a cool $375,990.

In contrast, the state of California has roughly $425 billion of debt, an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent, a population of about 39 million people and a staggering 600,000 records of government pensions. (RELATED: Nearly 3,000 New York State Government Retirees Receive Pensions Over $100,000)

California qualifies government workers as either safety employees (police or firefighters) or miscellaneous (everyone else), according to Transparent California. The average yearly pensions considering all 600,000 records averaged $85,724 for safety retirees, and $65,148 for non-safety government retirees.

“It’s particularly indefensible to force taxpayers to bear the entire cost for the recklessness of union-backed officials who gambled on sky-high investment returns, lost, and now expect taxpayers to bail them out,” Fellner said in the statement.

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