SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - For decades, a sacrosanct rule has governed pensions for California public employees: Benefits promised can never be taken away.
But cases before the California Supreme Court threaten to reverse that premise and open the door to benefit cuts for workers still on the job.
The cases have enormous implications for California cities, counties, schools, fire districts and other local bodies facing a sharp rise in their pension costs, and for the workers who earn pensions from them.
The ballooning costs are an issue that Gov. Jerry Brown will face in his final year in office despite his earlier efforts to reform the state's pension systems and pay down massive unfunded liabilities.
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