To the editor: State should not burden state workers with retirement shortfall

I urge our state government NOT to support the current proposal that would put the burden of the retirement shortfall on our teachers and state employees.  The current teachers and state employees should be not responsible for the mismanagement of the retirement fund by prior state administrations.

Asking teachers/state employees to delay retirement for less benefits would create a shortage of openings for new teachers/state employees, which would encourage young families to leave Vermont to find work.

Asking teachers/state employees to delay retirement for less benefits would leave older, higher-paid teachers/state employees in the classroom adding to the already skyrocketing costs of educating Vermont children and funding state programs.

Asking teachers/state employees to delay retirement for less benefits creates an atmosphere of resentment which is not constructive for our children or our communities.

I hope our state government can use other funding sources to bridge the funding gap, and then act to protect the retirement system to avoid this funding shortfall in the future.

Jennifer Leak

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  1. Raymond Makul says:

    Pension benefits are a form of deferred compensation. Reducing benefits after years of work is simply a refusal to pay what was owed. How many chose an education career in part for the retirement benefits? Pensions become underfunded when public officials fail to make full contributions to the fund. They do this to lower the tax burden. Well, the tax party is over, time to pay up. Perhaps marijuana sales should be legalized, and taxes on such sales 100% dedicated to addressing the pension fund deficit.

  2. Kathleen Vize says:

    The proposed increase is modest and should be borne by those directly benefitting from it. Many in the private sector are struggling greatly in the Covid era; burdening them with more taxes to cover a shortfall for civil employees (who still have jobs and benefits) is wrong. Many in private business do not have retirement funds or are grossly underfunded as their taxes, utility, food bills, etc, continue to rise. Some of small businesses have folded, leaving employees to claim unemployment.

    I see the proposal has a risk assessment fee. That is fair. Investing has risk. That risk should be on those investing.

    I disagree with increasing retirement age. Teach for 30 years, retire, and sub per diem if the classroom still beckons. No one wants crotchety,’resentful’ teachers. (Back in the day,a few of my teachers easily had four decades at the chalkboard. One actually dropped dead in school. Quite traumatic for all of us.)

    I also agree with the increase in time to vest. The taxpayers are making an investment to the community and state when hiring teachers and state workers.

    There needs to be some give and take between teachers, state workers and the State lest it all become an unsustainable pension nightmare.

    My time is split between VT and NYS. I’m shackled to NY due to business. One thing I’ve observed is that VT tends to make some of the mistakes NYS has made; they’ve driven a lot of people to leave NYS. (Whose #1 in outbound moves? NYS!)