Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: pensions

April
22nd

PENSIONS: Get tough on those who game the system

Your coverage of our state pension system (TNT, 4-7) is important to me as a taxpayer. I firmly believe more than a few high-ranking public servants game our pension system for their benefit. Examples cited indicate a hand-and-glove subculture in some local fire departments similar to the intimate subculture in the high-rolling financial sector that caused the recent recession.

This friendly subculture was also revealed when The News Tribune ran another newspaper’s article about gaming disability benefits by some rank-and-file firefighters in Seattle. I believe some administrative processes in some local fire departments need review by a Legislature that claims

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April
15th

PENSIONS: Consider all the information

Re: “Late pay raises spike Washington pension benefits” (TNT, 4-7).

I served as the Lakewood fire chief when three chief officers retired in early 2010, as recently highlighted by Associated Press reporter Mike Baker. However, several key pieces of information were left out of the article.

For instance, Greg Hull was entitled to a retirement benefit equivalent to 81 percent of his final salary (2 percent calculated for each of his 40.5 years of service). When reporting his pension amount, Baker fails to mention that Hull purchased additional retirement credits through a state program when he retired, spending more

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April
10th

PENSIONS: Series not about state workers

The recent series on abuse of pension benefits by government retirees is important (TNT, 4-7), and it deserves a full-blown investigation by the state auditor. I write, however, to expand on a concern expressed by a letter writer (TNT, 4-10).

The boxes describing the series in The News Tribune stated that it was about “the benefits state workers receive.” A person who read the articles knows that this is not true. It leads to an impression that the problem is with the benefits of state workers. In fact, all of those cited in the stories were never state

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March
22nd

PENSIONS: Respect promises made to workers

Current proposals are being floated to do away with “defined benefit” pension plans for state employees and replace them with “defined contribution” plans.

A “defined contribution” plan is an employer’s convenience, reminding folks it is a good idea to set aside some of your own earnings for future use. The government that “provides” this plan does little more than allow employees to use some byways of existing laws to help themselves. It costs little to nothing to offer it and little harm results from employers taking credit for an employee acting in a responsible manner.

This plan may be good,

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March
28th

STATE BUDGET: Leave earned benefits alone

Re: “Lawmakers eye retirees’ cost-of-living increases” (TNT, 3-27).

Again, the lawmakers are trying to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and seniors. Now, the Legislature wants to take away a $65-per-month COLA, promised as a portion of state worker’s pensions, to which these workers have largely contributed themselves.

It is terribly unfortunate to take this away from the people who have also given the best years of their life to public service – teachers and state workers. Lawmakers refuse to touch the wealthy, the big corporations and businesses which, in spite of the government deficits, are

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March
28th

STATE BUDGET: Don’t dump retirees’ COLAs

Re: “Lawmakers eye retirees’ cost-of-living increases” (TNT, 3-27).

While the article about eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for state retirees was fairly comprehensive, some key elements were not explored fully.

As a state retiree, I will receive no COLA for more than 15 years. As other employees’ salaries will likely increase over that time, my monthly retirement amount will languish with what will likely be the soon-to-be-broken promise of an eventual increase at age 66 1/2. As others’ salaries may keep pace with inflation, my buying power is degraded.

State administrators and legislators have failed to make regular deposits to our

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March
28th

STATE BUDGET: Another broken promise

Re: “Lawmakers eye retirees’ cost-of-living increases” (TNT, 3-27).

In 1966, I was promised that if I spent 30 years in the classroom and “donated” 6 percent of my salary each year, I would receive a monthly retirement check based on my years of service and my highest salary. This “donation” was, of course, mandatory.

I truly believed the state would uphold its part of our contract. I believed it would not only pay me my money back, with interest, but would, upon my turning 66, include a COLA in the bargain.

Now I find out that the state intends to

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Feb.
9th

PENSIONS: Plan reflects legislative immorality

Re: ” Lawmakers seek minimum state pension funding” (TNT, 2-9).

As a retired member of Teachers’ Retirement System Plan 1, I am equally angry and sympathetic. I’m angry that after 30 years of living up to the yearly contractual requirements I agreed to with the districts and citizens in the communities I served, now due to malfeasance by legislators only interested in protecting votes, I may see the contracted annuity payments to which I contributed over 30 years reduced.

Like the 30-year mortgage on a home, legislators appear to have decided to just walk away.

On the other hand, I

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