This snippet from the UL caught my eye as we on the BudComm saw (and heard) that retirement costs are skyrocketing from almost every department head lamenting its impact on their budgets, especially as the State broke its “promise” to help local towns and cities pay the costs that go into the State wide pension plan (which is underfunded by $5-6 BILLION dollars) (reformatted, emphasis mine):
The House narrowly defeated a bill sponsored by Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, to restore a 15 percent state contribution to municipalities for the retirement cost of local police, firefighters and teachers. HB 413 failed in the January session of the House by a vote of 172-166, but was brought up for reconsideration on Thursday, and failed again, 171-170.
“As part of the budgeting process, payment of a percent of retirement payments was discussed and dismissed as an uncontrollable cost to the state,” according to Rep. J. Tracy Emerick, R-Hampton. The state ended its annual contributions to municipal retirement funds 10 years ago, with a contribution of about $50 million to municipalities in the last year of the program.
As I said last night, all of us taxpayers should be downright tired and disgusted with all of the politico talk of up-shifting and down-shifting of costs between the local towns, the counties, the States, and the Feds. Frankly, we all are at the bottom of the financial well and all four of these levels are looking deeper and deeper to pick our pockets. It doesn’t matter who is demanding the money – they ALL are and it doesn’t matter if that $1,000 is being charged to us by the State or by the Town, it’s still a $1,000 out of my pocket. If I’m not paying it out of my property taxes, I’m paying it in a higher cost of goods and services (like here in NH as we have no income or state sales tax but companies are charged via the Business Enterprise Tax or the State’s Profit tax) or via outright taxes on the sales slips.
When it comes right down to it, the number only keeps going up even as they squabble about whose budget is going to be cast as the “bully of taxpayers”. My response is a pox on all their houses.
But get that phrase “dismissed as an uncontrollable cost to the state” – got it? Review what I said above and read that again. You know what is “uncontrollable” about it? That isn’t mentioned in the snippet?
Defined benefit. What you get for bucks and benefits at the end of your career. That’s what’s driving the cost – and politicos are unwilling to sock it to the taxpayers to fully fund that because taxpayers would probably and literally revolt. As Instapundit keeps saying, that which is unsustainable won’t be.
Instead, Mr. Cushing, of doing a cost-shifting, how about doing a type-shifting? Like to Defined Contributions that would be much more stable over the long run for the sake of the taxpayers. Grandfather those folks that are in the current system now but any new employees, like almost all private sector employees, change to a 401(K) type plan instead of having to deal with State mandates?
You know, a choice, Mr Progressive Cushing? I don’t believe that the State should be paying anything to the employees of the town and counties – let those “employers” (and remember, in all cases, the REAL employers are us, the taxpayers) choose what is best for their situations – the current program or a new one.
Can’t you see well enough to loose the chains that the State has placed on us all?