When faced with the choice between steep cuts in public safety or pursuing greater pension contributions from employees, the Sacramento city council chose the latter. They’re also hoping that pension reform could help the case for a tax increase.

That was the reaction to the first official look the city council has had of the newly proposed city budget that has a $15.7 million deficit. The city could have plugged that deficit by cutting 34 police officers and 62 fire fighters, in additional to defunding a variety of other positions. It appears that the employee unions are also looking at their benefits and preparing to contribute more. In January, firefighters are scheduled to begin paying 6 percent of their contributions, but the city is going to ask they pay the full 9.81 percent.

Should the city manage to pass some form of pension reform, several council members expressed hope that it could make the case for a tax increase in November more compelling. That tax increase could be used to restore some of the city services that have been cut during previous budget seasons.

From the Sac Bee:

The Sacramento City Council appears on board with wrangling bigger pension contributions out of the city’s cops and firefighters.

Backing up a recommendation by City Manager John Shirey, members of the City Council said Tuesday the city must get more out of its employees to avoid the most severe cuts to the ranks of public safety workers in the city’s history. Without significant changes to employee pension contributions, 62 firefighters and 34 police officers face losing their jobs.

Read the full article here.