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Double Dipping & Pension Reform... like oil & water

MA has amassed ~$35 billion dollars in unfunded public pension liabilities & other post-employment benefits, and it's time to take a hard look at this situation before it outright bankrupts our state.

I believe pension reform is critical in Massachusetts. If you were to retire today as an E-8 after serving 20 years in the Navy Seals, your initial monthly retirement pay would be $2100 per month ($25,200/year). Sen. Ken Donnelly receives $51,187 from a taxpayer funded pension and $61,440 from his state senate salary. He authored S1046 that allows him and others to “Double Dip” and receive both a taxpayer funded pension and salary. He’s pushing legislation that will allow him to receive a “superannuation retirement allowance” to increase his pension(s).

It is my feeling that legislators have guaranteed union pensions and salaries for campaign contributions. Politicians filled the taxpayer funded pension trough with promises that you and I will pay for in higher taxes over many years. MA taxpayers are liable for 100% of union public salaries and pensions. While public employees contribute only up to 11% of their salary to help fund their own retirement. We as a state owe the public pension fund $35 billion in unfunded liabilities and other post-employment benefits logically, and this is just not sustainable.

Politicians don’t want to stop “Double Dipping” or lose union contributions. Union bosses and members don’t want to retire later or contribute more to their retirement. That leaves you and I stuck paying for all of it. I do not feel that is acceptable! There have been legislative efforts to reform the system (S2010, S2018), which Donnelly uniformly voted against. Public employees can retire at 55 compared to private sector around 65. Increasing the retirement age by 5 years would save us ~$5 billion in taxes. Reform isn’t going to be easy, and will require sacrifice. In my opinion, first sacrificed should be the “Double Dipper.”

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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