SAN JOSE (KCBS) – It looks like San Jose retirees will not be getting a bonus check this year from the city’s pension program after the city council voted to block those payments.

What was eliminated was the so-called “13th check” that goes out to city retirees in years when pension fund earnings exceed targets. However, Mayor Chuck Reed said that with the city’s retirement plans under-funded by a projected $3 billion, bonuses shouldn’t be given out.

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”We shouldn’t be bonusing money when we have that kind of a gaping hole in our finances,” said Reed.

Others on the council, including Councilman Ash Kalra, said they were worried about city retirees who are living hand-to-mouth, and truly need that extra check.

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KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

”Some of us have a concern about those who are living in poverty, that are being affected disproportionately by others who may have retired a year or two ago and have a healthier retirement,” said Kalra.

In the end the council voted 8 to 3 to continue suspending the bonus checks. Those checks will be permanently blocked if the city’s pension reform ballot measure passes in June.

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