Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Representing California’s 46th Congressional District
PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Barb Solish, 202-226-8373/Barb.Solish@mail.house.gov
REP. SANCHEZ SECURES KEY SUPPORT FOR ORANGE COUNTY PENSION REFORM
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) yesterday redoubled her efforts to facilitate Orange County pension reform by convening a meeting between reform stakeholders and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (MI-4). During the meeting, Chairman Camp pledged his support to lobby the Treasury Department for a waiver necessary to implement reform.
“Like so many municipalities across the nation, Orange County struggles with underfunded pensions and rising costs,” said Rep. Sanchez. “But instead of picking corners, Orange County’s pension stakeholders came to the table and found a fiscally sustainable way to provide retirement security for hardworking government employees. We are grateful for Chairman Camp’s commitment to make this bipartisan plan a reality.”
In 2009, the County of Orange and the Orange County Employees Associations (OCEA) developed a smart solution to the county’s rising pension costs. The new plan provides a lower defined benefit option, which the County would offer along with participation in an employer matching, defined contribution plan. The hybrid plan boasts support from unions, business and both sides of the aisle including California Governor Jerry Brown and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
However, the plan requires a change in the Internal Revenue Code to protect the income tax treatment of employee contributions. The Treasury Department, despite three years of lobbying by Rep. Sanchez, OCEA and the County, has been unwilling to make this change. Chairman Camp’s support for a code waiver specifically for Orange County is a key step forward.
As an alternative to an administrative waiver, Rep. Sanchez introduced bipartisan legislation to change the Code in 112th Congress, but it was not brought to the floor. Rep. Sanchez re-introduced the same legislation in the first week of the 113th Congress. To advance further, Chairman Camp would have to bring it to the Ways and Means Committee.
“There is simply no good reason that Orange County should not be able to proceed with this innovative solution to keep their pension system solvent and control future costs and liabilities. I will continue to push for an administrative or legislative fix to solve this difficult fiscal issue,” continued Rep. Sanchez.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is proud to represent California’s 46th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana, and parts of the cities of Garden Grove and Orange in Orange County. She serves as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and the second ranked Democrat on the Committee on Homeland Security. Rep. Sanchez is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Economic Committee.
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