The state gave public employees an implied contract: Give us your service, and we will give you a pension.
Every pay period we gave our 6 percent; it was the employer – the state – that did not give its share.
The state investment board earned a good return on funds invested, but without the full 100 percent contributions from the state, they have not had the opportunity to earn the maximum possible.
The “Uniform COLA” is not even a “COLA”; it is based on how many years retirees worked for the state and the amount of their monthly pension, and does not even start until age 66.
In January, health premiums went up 19 percent, and the governor wants another 17 percent increase next January.
The average PERS I pension is $20,500. Where will the retiree get the extra 17 percent next year, let alone the 19 percent this year?
The unfunded liability of the pension is not a problem that the retirees created. But now we are being asked to pay for it.
The governor’s opinion that the permanent COLA for PERS I pensions is a huge factor in the underfunding of the plan is just not true. It is a factor, but the real problem is that the employer, the state, has not met it obligations to pay their share.
We employees faithfully paid our share every pay period. But to bear the cost of bailing the state out of this problem is not fair and it is not our problem.