Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tax Raising Pensions

So Dale Risinger was the only Illinois State Senator who voted against the pension raise for deputies. (JSEB, 4/22/05) Was Dale really standing up for the taxpayers? I suspect he was. I hear he is not planning to run for reelection, at least, that’s what some Republicans are saying. I may be wrong because I just received another request from him for money with the lowest figure being $100.00 and a blank for “other amounts”. If he is going to stand for reelection, I give him credit for looking out for the taxpayer and I’ll send him a few dollars. In the meantime, I’ll wait and see.

Politicians up for reelection are usually afraid to vote against special interests even though their vote may not be in the best interest of the public. When I first started blogging last August, I said “This is not a politically correct blogsite”. What I am saying today may not set well with a lot of people working in the public sector who are looking for a retirement package larger than the community can afford. However, many in the public sector also complain about rising taxes and rising healthcare costs.

There are always consequences of any actions taken, not all of these consequences are good for everyone. If the Illinois State Legislature, including Dave Leitch and Aaron Schock, vote to approve what the Senate approved, they might analyze the last local election where the voter appears to have voted for change. We’ll see and I’ll give credit or discredit on this site. I’m also past due to write some “letters to the editors”.

We cannot afford to keep allowing people to retire at 55 and let them still be paid up to 80% of their last salary earned. Even more ridiculous is allowing them to move 10 years of pension benefits earned in less lucrative government employment into the fatter (in this case deputies) system. A friend of mine, who was never in a management position is at the retirement age of 55 and asked me if I though he could live on his $60,000.00 a year pension. He asked what I though he might do to earn more money because he was too young to stop working. I said “get another government job and qualify for another pension.” His wife makes in the $80,000.00 range and also works for the public sector.

The majority of private businesses in Peoria do not have a pension plan. Why not? Because it is hard to meet a payroll with all the governmental regulations strapping most of the private sector and with more competition, much of it from other countries where the pay and benefits do not come close to the U.S. Most of the private sector tries to pay their employees as much as they can; they want them to do well too and also that they do not lose their best employees. They encourage the employees who help make them a profit, to work to at least be 65 when they retire and also encourage them to save some money or make some income producing investments to go along with their Social Security payments. Don’t tell me there may not be any Social Security some day. We have been drifting more to a socialist and welfare state for at least a couple of decades. Why work and save; the government will take care of you.

The taxpayer and voter are not paying enough attention to the backgrounds of those they elect to public office. Very few elected officials have ever had to meet a payroll. When you need to meet a payroll and are a little short of money, you can’t raise taxes, issue or increase levies, increase services charges and charge more for your product than the market can bear. Ever heard a government going broke? If this trend of increasing public benefits continue you may see some public bodies go broke; in fact the trend may break the whole country in less than 15 years.

Start projecting some of these public employee benefits for say up to10 years from now. If this speeding SUV doesn’t slow down, this country is in for far bigger problems than we have now.

If I worked for a public body, I would probably want as much salary, get as much time off as I could and accept all the benefits as I could get. I probably would not turn down an increase to my pocketbook. However, as an elected official of a public body, it is my job to look ahead so our community stays fiscally solvent and be as fair as I can be to public workers. Many elected officials do not appear to be looking much beyond their next run to be reelected.

Too bad; but change may be “a’comin”! It’s a little like the poison in some of our water systems as reported in the JS today. Easy to get into a bad situation; very difficult and costly to get out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who did the original math on these State/City funded pensions? What were they thinking? What drugs were they taking? It seems to me that it was quite foreseeable that government would not be able to make good on these promises from the start.