Published: Wednesday, March 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MST
No, no one pays for our investments. But defined benefit plan pensions are part
of a pay contract in which the employer promises so much now and so much later.
The employee works under that promise. If the employer wants to change the
contract, they need to look at how to make whole the employees who have already
done their work under the old contract (since the employee can't take back
their work, it should be very difficult for the employer to rescind their
obligations).BTW, when did it become widely known that pension plans
were using rosy investment scenarios to avoid paying more into the system? 20
years ago? 30 years ago? I know I have heard of this most of my adult life.
So look at who has been in charge of the pension plan (both directly and
politically) and you will see that folks have been less than fully honest with
you as a taxpayer (just as they have been with the employees).
I'm sure the writer of this letter votes for legislators who, while
decrying the need for good health insurance for others are enjoying a taxpayer
funded health insurance program for themselves. One that is good for life if
they manage to be re-elected a few times.But offering secure
retirement to the people who actually do the WORK of keeping the state operating
is too much? Workers, who by the way, pay a large portion of their insurance
premiums out of pocket.
Ok, don't guarantee the pension, but then the state would have to increase
employee pay, something similar to what they could be getting in the private
sector.State employees are underpaid, compared to the private sector, and
one of the main reasons they stay with the state is the guaranteed pension.
Either way, the state will have to pay.
We need to get rid of any guaranteed retirement plans for any government
employee (local, state, or federal). Just like most companies now do,
governments should make a yearly contribution to an employee's 401(k) plan
as part of their overall compensation.Let the employee decide when
there is enough in there to retire. No more of this nonsense about working for
only 20 years (or only 2 years if you are a congressman) and being able to
retire on 90% of your last year's salary for the rest of your life. Stop
the games where the soon-to-be-retired worker can work a ton of overtime or use
other tricks to get their last year's salary up as high as possible and
profit for many years to come on the taxpayer dime. No wonder the pension system
is deeply in trouble.If you have high risk jobs like policemen,
firemen, or soldiers, then just contribute a bit more each year to attract good
To those like Joe Capitalist who don't know anything about retirement
pension rates in Utah:Most retirees receive, as their pension, 2% of
their salary for each year of service. The person who works for the state for
20 years would only receive 40% of their salary not the 80% you suggest.
JoeCapitalist,Your 90% salary pension after 20 years sounded suspicious to
me, so I looked it up on The Google. Easy enough to find. First, it looks like
the state is trying to step away from full pensions; new employees can either
get a 401(k)/pension "hybrid" or a straight 401(k). It also looks like
state employees only get full pension benefits if they retire after 35 years.
There is no 90% salary pension that I could find; the highest was about 50% of
their salary. Older employees can retire sooner than 35 years, but receive
reduced benefits. Maybe the system was more generous in years past.
Steve and Emajor, please go easy on those poor conservatives. It's not at
all necessary to have any factual backing for a comment here. Expecting a Utah
Republican to actually make an effort to be informed is simply unfair.
May I make a suggestion to the letter writer and those who bash "Us"
state employees.The Next time you are able to complete your business
with the governement from the comfort of your office or home, please remember
those State workers who were the ones that made that possible (no, not the
legislature, the State Workers).Second, as posted earlier, we
receieve 2% for each year of service, Full retirement after 30 years (20 yrs if
in Law Enforcment). So the most any one can make is 60 percent of their salary
(90% where did that come from?).Third, If you want your governement
to run efficently and effectively you need to draw the brightest and talented
workers to work for you. On average, the pay for state workers for the exact
same duties and responsibilities of the private sector is about 8 percent lower.
Which means that the the talented workers may not want to come work for the
state if they can make more money elsewhere.The way the state deals
with that is retirement benifits, thus making it attractive to come to work for
the state.So please bash us state workers as often as you can.
@JoeCapitalist"We need to get rid of any guaranteed retirement
plans for any government employee (local, state, or federal). Just like most
companies now do, governments should make a yearly contribution to an
employee's 401(k) plan as part of their overall compensation."Federal government's been doing this for all employees who joined since
@res novaeThe federal government still has a Defined benefit its
just now that benefit is partially social security, part 401k, and part Defined
pension. Most companies have moved away from defined benefits
because they are forcing companies to declare bancruptcy (GM, DODGE, etc).About this letter to the editor. It is obvious the writer is farely
ignorant of how government pension plans work and the accounting portion of
them. The truth is the current state pension plan is doing fine. It has been
the best managed plan in the country and its assumptions used in the
calculations are not that far off base. 7.5% rate or return is normal for most
of these plans and it boggles my mind why John Dougall is wasting tax payer
dollars and being so aggressive about this. Too bad we didn't elect a real
accountant who would know where to look for real problems in our government and
not some political hack.
Many school districts are now phasing out pension plans and converting to 401 K
plans for new teachers. As for being angry about funding the current system,
more than once in the past, during lean years, the state legislature has
"looted" the URS fund to pay for other programs.Also, to get 90%
of one's top salary (state employees get 1.5% per year), one would have to
work for the state for 60 years. If starting at age twenty five, they would be
85 years old at retirement. Of course there is "forced" retirement long
The Hammer,Just to clarify, the federal Thrift Savings Plan is the
component of federal retirement I had in mind, designed to act as a 401(k). I
think JoeCapitalist was refering to the old Civil Service Retirement Program,
which is a defined benefit plan.Us young'ins look at to our
older peers who entered federal service under the CSRP with envy -- it was a
pretty good deal!
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