It’s time for elected officials and union leadership to take responsibility for financial abuse

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For the editor:

Bonuses to be paid to public sector employees of up to $3,500 each will cost the state $150 million in this case alone. Reports say these bonuses will then be added to the salary base, creating a higher COLA (cost of living adjustment) baseline for 30 or more years in retirement. The Governor has experienced “workforce graying” throughout his tenure. His lack of vision and leadership led to this one-sided “bargaining” to pay bonuses that are his re-election bid with our tax dollars.

Connecticut has grossly mismanaged public sector employee wages and benefits for several decades, always putting the tax-paying public on the hook. Unfortunately, elected officials and labor leadership have worked together to ignore pension obligations with outright underfunding and the use of overly optimistic investment return projections. Corporate and individual taxpayers unable or unwilling to pay outsized tax burdens relocated, creating a downward trend in economic activity in Connecticut.

It is time for all union officials and leadership to take responsibility for current and historical abuses of fiscal responsibility. It is NOT time for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of paying for what many experts have said are disproportionately generous retirement and health benefits. The proposed bonuses, salary arrears and step increases will NOT minimize unfunded pension liabilities, but will actually increase unfunded pension liability warrants.

Connecticut is awash with newly printed cash, which our federal legislators have taken from the future of our children and grandchildren. That money is lighting the fires of inflation, and it WILL be dried up in Connecticut in less than two years – a fact the governor has acknowledged. Connecticut has failed to return to the same level of jobs that existed before the 2008 recession. The state will continue to languish economically, making future retirement and health care benefits for state employees an issue. most important. State employees understand these facts and, in many cases, simply hope to “hold on” before the system inevitably collapses.

Without the leadership of the Governor and Assembly, Connecticut will continue to limp economically in what was once the most prosperous state in the Union. The Governor’s support for these proposed bonuses shows that instead of seeking the long-term good of the state, he is prepared to try once again to mislead the electorate into his bid for re-election. Show leadership. Connecticut needs to enter the modern world of state employee compensation and benefits by implementing 401K/403b style retirement programs similar to the taxpaying public.

Vote NO to the proposed SEBAC bonus and wage increases.

Robert Ham
Cheshire, Connecticut


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