Upon returning to the Board in 2013, Supervisor Simitian brought attention to a developing crisis with the underfunded liability for Santa Clara County retiree health benefits, which had ballooned 2500% to $1.8 billion during the 12 years he served in the California State Legislature. Caused by the County deferring contributions in order to maintain County services during the economic downturn, Supervisor Simitian led the Board in approving an ordinance binding the County to a 35-year payment plan for debt reduction. By adhering to the approved plan, taxpayer costs for the retiree benefit could be reduced by an estimated $52 million a year and a total of $1.5 billion. Retiring the debt on a set time frame was one of the fiscal policies that helped the County earn strong ratings from the credit ratings agencies. Maintenance of high ratings translates into lower overall interest rates, which in turn bring additional benefits to the taxpayers of the community.
Read the County press release:
County of Santa Clara Board approves strategy to tackle unfunded retiree health liability
Read Supervisor Simitian's opinion piece in the Mercury News:
Retiree costs: Santa Clara County needs to pay up