Republican Meg Whitman said she would possibly put up her own money–and she has a lot of it–to finance a ballot measure to slash public employee pensions.
Whitman, who is running for governor, told the Sacramento Bee that a ballot measure was not her “first choice,” but that cutting public employee pensions “is an issue we have got to take up.” She also said she would consider revoking the law that grants collective bargaining rights to state workers, saying that the law was “probably not a good thing.”
Whitman has already demonstrated that her wealth can alter the dynamic of an election. She has donated more than $119 million of her own money to her gubernatorial campaign, the most expensive self-funded effort in U.S. history.
Whitman wants to raise the retirement age for most state employees, increase employee contributions and put new hires on 401(k)-style retirement plans instead of defined-benefit pensions. She would exempt public safety workers, but not prison guards, from the 401(k) approach.
Brown has said he would keep defined benefits in place but increase employee contributions and reduce benefit levels for new hires. Schwarzenegger and six unions this year have negotiated tentative labor deals involving some of the same provisions.