L.A. voters are strongly supporting a measure that would trim pension benefits for new hires in the police and fire departments. In early returns, Measure G is winning with 72% of the vote.

This may have been one of the most confusing items on the ballot — in part because Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's office missed the deadline to provide a “pro” statement for the sample ballot. But voters seem to have figured it out well enough to support it.

The measure is the result of a negotiation worked out between the city and

the police and fire unions. The unions agreed not to oppose the

measure, which boosts employee contributions to the pension fund by 2%

and reduces pension payouts for those who retire early.

It will not put a dent in next year's $350 million deficit, but city officials hope it will save money over the long term as more new officers and firefighters are hired. Over 10 years, the city projected it would save $152 million.

With this issue now behind it, the city is poised to take on pension benefits for new civilian employees. Unlike with police and firefighters, cutting pensions for non-sworn employees does not require a ballot measure.

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