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BUSES: Is Pierce Transit health plan overly generous?

Letter by Stephen Hemmert, Tacoma on Sep. 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm with 12 Comments »
September 17, 2012 1:26 pm

Re: “No tax hike for Pierce Transit” (letter, 9-15).

Just what constitutes adequate health care coverage and cost sharing? I do not know if the writer’s numbers are correct. I do know the most popular health care choice for federal employees has a cost-sharing ratio of 68 percent government and 32 percent employee. The premiums allocation is $898/$430. The annual total cost is $15,934.

Is the Pierce Transit plan overly generous?

It is also very interesting that Pierce Transit is threatening to terminate service on weekends and holidays. How will weekend workers and shoppers get to around town? Is this a ploy to get the sales tax increase passed?

I hear all the time the increase is only so much. I used to hear that all the time when my kids wanted new toys.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. MyBandito says:

    Health insurance premiums are outrageous.

  2. It is also very interesting that Pierce Transit is threatening to terminate service on weekends and holidays. How will weekend workers and shoppers get to around town? Is this a ploy to get the sales tax increase passed?

    Are you that intellectually deprived? Nothing about threats, nothing about a ploy, all about dollars and sense. Since you were in a cave, something called the recession deleted sales tax revenue for PT. Why don’t you TNT workers stop spreading lies to get the public and start printing facts. Are you a news organization or the national enquirer?

  3. alindasue says:

    My Bandito,
    Health insurance premiums are outrageous overall and the actual costs for care are even worse. The whole industry has gotten out of hand… but that’s a topic for another forum.

    Mr. Hemmert,
    Weekends and holidays are the low use times for the buses, the time when the runs are least profitable. That’s why if runs need to be cut to save costs, it would be then. They already cut back the weekday runs as far as practical.

    How will weekend workers and shoppers get around? They’ll get around the same way commuters who can no longer ride the bus too AND from work on weekdays get around now…

    Ideally, the sales tax increase will pass and we can return to the quality transportation service that Pierce Transit has been known for.

    As someone pointed out in another discussion thread, this is the last tax increase that Pierce Transit will be asking for. They are allowed up to 0.9% sales tax and this will take them to that preassigned limit. Just think, for $3-10 per month (in most cases) you never have to deal with another transit tax hike AND we get a better public transit system in the process.

  4. BORG7, your comments are typical of too many posters on this newspaper site. Too many make rude and crude comments, rather than limiting comments to facts and opinions.

    One of the issues raised is whether the cost sharing and the plans offered need to be adjusted. Are the plans overly generous in the benefits offered? Is the cost sharing overly generous? You rant about TNT workers stating incorrect facts, but, you do not offer a correct figure. I do know the federal plans and cost sharing is not as generous as the Pierce Transit plan mentioned in the original letter, if correct.

    One cannot continuously ask voters to subsidize overly generous wage and benefit packages.

    Is it a ploy to get voters to approve the sales tax increase? You bet it is a ploy. The threat is to take away bus service. It will affect many people. So, the public is asked to continue to pay more in sales taxes, rather than have overly generous wage and benefit packages revisited. Sales tax revenue can further erode. Not because people are necessarily spending less, but, because they are spending their dollars elsewhere.

  5. You are one sided also, you won’t admit it here though. You approve tax funded agencies who have better benefits than transit. Educators, police, firefighters, vote on the 911 system whereas they even stated they didn’t need that much money! Its easy to punish those unfortunate in life. Your no vote doesn’t hurt PT, they will continue, lots of is will not. Some of my neighbors are talking termination if this fails, that’s how serious it is to us who have no transportation if this fails. So you can continue in your fairy tale life, yeah, the rest of the nation is a ploy also because of the recession, businesses closing nation wide is one huge ploy, you are ridiculous!

  6. Here’s you facts whereas the TNT won’t print

    31% reduction in management
    43% reduction in bus and paratransit services
    2 fare increases in two years
    3 rounds of layoffs
    Eliminated community event service to the Puyallup Fair, Fourth of July Freedom Fair,
    and others Freeze on cost of living and wages for management and non-union employees Non-union employees pay more medical and dental costs Capital facility projects eliminated or delayed Howmuchwillitcostme?

    A 3/10th of one percent increase is equal to 3 pennies on a $10 taxable purchase.

    An average of $3.33 a month.

    (Calculated using 2011 Pierce County retail sales and U.S. Census data.)

  7. BORG7; You have no idea how I will vote on the sales tax issue. Do you? It is a marketing by Pierce Transit to pass the increase. I do not get to approve any tax provided services. Do you? In the City of Tacoma wages and benefits are negotiated by the City administration. I don’t get to approve anything. Yes, I can vote councilpersons out of office. However, it appears nobody will stop the increase in salaries and benefits.

  8. However, it appears nobody will stop the increase in salaries and benefits.

    Please get out of your cave…..

    PT union just approved a 3 year no raise contract, and increase how much they pay for medical.

    Your job have a clause whereas you won’t get a pay raise for the next the years?

    By law, this is the last time PT can ask for 3 pennies ! Can the aforementioned agencies state that? Can any organization in the nation state that!

    After you leave your cave, put sunglasses on, the next several days will be sunny!

  9. And, down the road, when salaries, wages and operating costs continue and revenue decreases, what will happen then. If the sales tax lid is going to be reached now, what then? Prayer? It’s just kicking the can down the road.

    I fully understand the employee/union/management roles. If there is $100,000 available to pay ten workers at $10,000, and, revenue decreases to $90,000, what’s the choices. Pay ten employees $9,000 each or pay nine employees $10,000 each. I suspect the union position is to not erode the salary structure, i.e., can one employee. That causes a ripple effect in service.

    The City of Tacoma is facing at $60,000,000 budget shortfall in the future. Again, raid reserve funds; seek grants; refinance debt at long term greater costs; kick the can down the road and pray for good times again.

    At some point in time there has to be a reality check.

    And, BORG7, you continue to be one of those crude and rude posters. I wonder if you’re so obnoxious in person when discussing issues with friends and relatives?

  10. PT should have put in the proposition that when and if sales revenue return to pre-recession levels, added sales tax will be removed. Don’t know if its to late to add this clause, this would have swayed some of the no voters.

    PT has already fired 100 plus employees since the last vote, when this vote fails, 300 plus will be fired. Union position in this matter is irrelevant.

    Yes, when friends and family stress no tax increases, then vote yes for schools, police, etc., then say three pennies is too much for transit, yep, I voice my opinion to them also. Don’t be duplicitous when arguing points.

  11. At some point in time there has to be a reality check

    You are 100 percent correct! As with Tacoma and the nation’s budgetary problems, cuts services, employee reductions and selling assets must be accomplished which PT has done since the last vote.

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