San Francisco Public Employee Pensions, Proposition D (June 2010)

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A San Francisco Public Employee Pension Reform ballot measure, Proposition D, was on the June 8, 2010 ballot in San Francisco, where it was approved.[1]

Proposition D:

  • Required new public employees hired by the city to contribute 9% to their pension, rather than the 7% contributed by existing public employees of the city.
  • Required the city to set aside some funds every year to pay for the future known costs of the city's pension plan.
  • Based pension payouts on what an employee earned in the last two years of employment, rather than in the last year.

Proposition D applies to employees hired after July 1, 2010.

The San Francisco City Controller estimated that if Proposition D is approved, it would save the city between $300 million and $500 million cumulatively over the next 25 years.[2]

Proposition D, however, had no impact on the $483 million deficit the city was projecting for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2010.[2]

Election results

Proposition D
Approveda Yes 112,100 78.77%
These final, certified results are from the San Francisco County elections office.


Mayor Gavin Newsom, Public Defender Jeff Adachi and San Francisco Supervisors Campos, Elsbernd and Mar supported Proposition D.[3]

The San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board endorsed a "yes" vote on Proposition D, saying: "This measure will dent a significant problem: financial promises to retired workers that are outpaced by rising health care costs and declining investment returns. It also shores up the city's image with financial rating agencies wondering what steps San Francisco is taking to limit future liabilities."[4]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Shall the City: calculate retirement benefits for new City employees using average monthly compensation over two years instead of over one year; increase the retirement benefit employee contribution for new safety employees and new employees in positions covered by the State retirement system; and require that savings from reduced employer contributions to the City’s retirement system be deposited in the Retiree Healthcare Trust Fund?[5][6]


The annual amount San Francisco paid in pensions was growing rapidly. It was estimated that in 2014, the annual expense of San Francisco's pension payments will be $700 million, compared to $300 million in 2010.[2]

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