Californians Need Debate on Retirement Security Based on Facts, Not Scare Tactics

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A new poll released today shows that anti-worker politicians and their media pundit allies are continuing to misinform the public about the retirement plans of nurses, parole officers, road maintenance workers and other public employees.

In the wake of this poll, here are some facts about retirement security that deserve attention.

FACT: The average public pension in California is $25,000 a year. 80% of public employees such as nurses, school employees, college professors, and child protection workers who retire receive less than $2,500 a month in retirement benefits

FACT: Public service workers already pay 7 to 10 percent toward their pensions. Nearly 80 cents of every dollar in benefits comes from workers' contributions and investment earnings--not from taxpayer contributions.

FACT: California's contribution to retirement for state employees is less than 5 percent of the state budget. The state of California pays less as a percentage of its payroll for pensions today than it did in 1980.

FACT: Unlike the private sector, many public employees do not receive Social Security, making their pensions their sole source of retirement income, other than savings. Relying on 401(k)'s without increasing salaries would leave most public employees high and dry, with no retirement security at all.

FACT: For 70 years public pensions been the path to dignified retirement for those who devote their lives to public service. 

The tired attacks on librarians, trash collectors and parks workers have nothing to do with fiscal responsibility. Anti-worker politicians and the special interest groups that support them are launching assaults on all working people and the very notion of dignified, secure retirement. Only by joining together and standing up to these attacks can we preserve secure retirement for the entire middle class.

LEARN MORE about preserving secure retirement for everyone at The National Institute for Retirement Security.

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