The other day I ran into somebody who told me of somebody, a public school librarian, who needed only five more years to achieve a retirement pension worth $100,000 a year.
This is like a hitting the instant lottery. Think about how much you’d have to collect in a 401k to get that kind of annual return– $2 million?
I hate the word “sustainable,” but the hard fact is that doling out this kind of retirement benefit in multiples of thousands just isn’t, well, sustainable.
So watch now as the fight against huge budget deficits turns to the public unions in New York that have managed to reap generous contracts for their memberships for years.
Today, the Westchester County Board of Legislators proposed a package of pension reforms for the State Legislature, which calls for a “Tier 6” for new public employees. This would require that future hires pay into their retirement under a “defined contribution mode” as well as eliminate the outrageous practice of using overtime to calculate pensions.
Legislator Mike Kaplowitz, D-Somers, said today that the cost of pension obligations may double over the next three years.
“This is clearly a fiscal burden that can no longer be sustained by the taxpayer,” he said. Tier 6, he said would save county taxpayers between $15 million and $40 million over the next three years.
But whether or not any of this actually happens is anyone’s guess. It’s only a resolution after all.
Also today, the conservative think tank, Empire Center for New York State Policy, called for an across-the-board pay freeze for state workers to help close the state’s 10 billion budget gap. The group pointed out in a report that even in a deep recession when so many workers in the private sector are taking pay cuts and accepting unpaid furloughs, most of the state government’s 137,400 unionized executive and judicial branch employees got 4 percent pay increases this year, in addition to 3 percent increases over each of the previous three years.
This fairly echos Gov. David Paterson’s request to state workers last week to forgo the 4 percent raises because the state is running out of money.