Pacific Legal Foundation announced today that it has filed a legal brief arguing that a massive retroactive pension windfall for Orange County public-safety workers was invalid, because the people’s constitutional right to vote on the giveaway was ignored.
PLF’s friend-of-the-court brief was filed in state appellate court, in support of the Orange County Board of Supervisors’ challenge to the retroactive pension giveaway, which was enacted in 2001 and took effect in 2002.
PLF submitted the brief in conjunction with the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers (FACT), an Orange County organization of taxpayers and business people dedicated to taxpayer protections and integrity in government.
The brief focuses on the voter-rights guarantee in Article XVI, Section 18 of the California Constitution. Section 18 forbids local governments from encumbering taxpayers with longterm debts or liabilities without the approval of a supermajority of voters. In this case, OC officials failed to consult the electorate when they enacted pension increases that were retroactive — i.e. tied to past service that had already been completed and compensated under contract terms previously agreed to.
Right out of the gate, the new, "retro" pension benefits threw a burden of $100 million or more onto the backs of taxpayers.
Learn more about the PLF-FACT amicus brief at our main site.