Nearly 80,000 Californians collected six-figure taxpayer-funded pensions in 2018, as retirement costs leave half the state’s cities at “high risk” of serious financial distress, according to an analysis.
Transparent California, a free-market think tank, found that 6 percent of retired government workers collected more than $100,000 in 2018, an 85 percent jump since 2013. Those payouts represented 20 percent of the $51.7 billion in total pension payments. Taxpayers spent a record-high $40 billion to cover the costs of public sector retirees in 2018, the report also found.
The median household income in California is $75,277. The six-figure payouts propel thousands of retirees into the top 38 percent of all earners in the state, according to census data. About 1.2 million people received pension checks in 2018, including a retired deputy police chief who collected nearly $1.5 million in 2018.
The increasing costs could push residents to a “breaking point,” according to Robert Fellner, executive director of Transparent California. Local and state government agencies will have to raise taxes to cover costs or cut public services to pay people who are no longer working.