Tackling the city deficit can be a challenge, and sometimes a simple theoretical solution simply presents itself. For instance, Sacramento City Manager John Shirey says that the city’s budget could be balanced by simply laying off 250 employees, including 89 police and more than 50 firefighters – but that isn’t a realistic solution and one he won’t pursue.

However, it appears that if employees began paying the employee share of their pension and benefits packages, the city’s deficit would be eliminated in its entirety over the next two years. It’s a concept that will likely face tremendous resistance, but with a deficit of $24.5 million, it will likely be discussed at least in passing.

Currently, top management in the city pay their entire contribution, but many rank-and-file employees pay only 4 percent of the 7 percent contribution. The city pays the remainder of the cost.

From the Sacramento Bee:

It’s more clear than ever that the top brass at City Hall has its eyes set on employee pensions as a way to slow the cycle of persistent budget deficits.

City Manager John Shirey told the City Council on Tuesday that roughly half of the city’s budget deficit over the next two years could be eliminated if all city workers paid their employee share of their CalPERS retirement contributions.

While top city management, the mayor and the City Council pay their employee shares, no rank and file workers pick up the entire tab of their retirement contributions. Instead, the city handles those payments – an arrangement that cost the city $16.8 million in 2010, according to a recent Bee analysis.

Read the full article here.