Chamber of Commerce supports retirement system reform - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Chamber of Commerce supports retirement system reform

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Tuesday endorsed a proposed ballot measure to rework the city of San Diego's employee retirement system to give most new employees 401(k) programs instead of traditional pensions.

Supporters of the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative, which has not yet received enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, say it would save the city a minimum of $1.2 billion through 2040.

Besides giving new employees other than police officers 401(k) plans, current city workers would see a five-year freeze on the pay that is used to calculate their pensions -- they could still receive raises or bonus pay, but that extra money could not be used later to calculate their pension payouts.

"This initiative makes good economic sense," said Ruben Barrales, the chamber's president and chief executive officer. "If the initiative qualifies for the ballot and is approved by the voters next year, it will provide significant reform for the city of San Diego, and save taxpayer dollars for important city services."

The initiative is backed by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and is expected to receive strong support from the business community. According to campaign finance disclosures made last week, a lot of business organizations have donated to the signature-gathering drive.

The effort is opposed by the city's labor unions.

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