(Reuters) A radical plan to slash public employee pension benefits gets voted on by the residents of Silicon Valley’s San Jose on Tuesday – a decision that could set an important precedent for many other cities, not only in California but across the nation.

The nation’s 10th-largest city is also one of the wealthiest, but over the past several years it has cut its municipal workforce by a quarter, laying off cops and firefighters, shuttering libraries and letting street repairs fall by the wayside.

The problem? Mayor Chuck Reed says it’s simple: Retiree benefit costs eat up more than a quarter of the city budget – and are growing at a double-digit rate.

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