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Steven Greenhut

San Jose Shows the Way Out of Public-Pension Sinkhole

Democratic leaders in California’s capital point to Silicon Valley’s economic rebound as proof that their ham-fisted tax policies aren’t strangling business growth. Yet San Jose, the high-tech hub and California’s third-largest city, is writing off those legislators in Sacramento as it tackles the toughest budget issues on its own.

On June 5, San Jose voters will almost certainly pass a measure that would give current city workers this choice: stay in the current pension system and increase contributions to help pay off the city’s unfunded pension liabilities, or choose a lower-benefit option. Thanks to San Jose’s charter provisions, officials say they can do what courts haven’t allowed in other locales: pare benefits for current public employees.