Monday, December 12, 2011

State Museum Guards Hazardous Pay?

An unsustainable benefit gets worse:
Special retirement benefits once reserved for police, firefighters and others with dangerous jobs are now being given to tens of thousands of state workers employed as park rangers, foresters, dispatchers, coroners, even highway laborers, museum guards and lifeguards.
 The trend will add heavily to the $70 billion that state taxpayers owe state retirement funds each year and is costing states such as Florida and Maryland $15 million to $30 million annually, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
Thirty-one states have passed laws since 2000 that expand the range of workers who can retire when they turn 50 or 55 or after working 20 or 25 years, then collect special pensions that will pay some an extra $1 million or more in retirement. The pensions are enhanced because they are usually based on a higher percentage of a worker's salary than pensions for ordinary state workers.
It's a triple whammy for taxpayers, who typically get much less in the private sector. Of course the failed, bankrupt state of Illinois' profligate pols and their public union porkers are in the mix:
In Illinois, where highway maintenance workers earn up to $148,000 a year with overtime, early enhanced retirement can pay a $75,000-a-year pension at age 50 after 25 years on the job. That adds up to $2.2 million if the retiree lives to age 80 — or $1.2 million more than if the person had been in the state's regular retirement plan.
What's the solution? Well, Gov. Walker in Wisconsin had the right idea. It's up to us and the rest of the country to tackle this ruinous inequity.

P.S. In Florida (USA Today):
Zapata sought in 2010 to shift thousands of workers from the special-risk class to the regular class, but quickly withdrew his bill after getting threatening phone calls. "You try to explain, look, what's happening here is unsustainable," said Zapata, who retired last year due to term limits. "Unfortunately, the conversation didn't go too far because the (state-worker) unions did a great job of shutting everything down."
In Wisconsin:  Mother and her Children Harassed and Terrorized By Recall Scott Walker Mob More:
Scott Walker recall supporter brags 'I think I signed about 80 times' More leftist shenanigans in Wisconsin as the Recall Scott Walker campaign embraces the Chicago Way. Sign early, sign often.

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