HEADLINES : California
Money not set aside for retiree health benefits
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown last week said he had closed a state budget gap for the first time in years and was making huge strides toward knocking down the "wall of debt" that keeps California from moving forward.
But in laying out his timeline for repaying some $23.5 billion, Brown did not factor in a looming liability - tens of billions more owed for retirement health care benefits promised to state workers.
Sacramento leaders have failed to set aside money to cover $62 billion in projected costs for retiree health care. Some veteran state workers have been promised the full state-funded contribution toward their health plans for the rest of their lives. That typically covers most, if not all, of their premiums. Many newer employees must pay a share of their costs.