BY BUDDY NEVINS
The stock market goes up and down, but one segment of the population has its retirement protected from any losses public employees.
About 80 percent of public employees have pension plans which guarantee monthly payments regardless of economic conditions.
This includes the Broward Teachers Union bosses, who get a state pension although they never set foot in a classroom to educate your kids.
BTO leaders have a sweet deal that keeps them in the comfortable embrace of the state pension system.
The teachers union executive directors are guaranteed by the contract they negotiated to remain members of the lucrative state pension.
The BTU bosses also get insurance benefits from you, courtesy of their collective bargaining agreement. Under the agreement, the bosses are treated differently than other “teachers on leave, which is how they are officially classified.
The pension and other benefits are so important to the union leaders that there is an entire section in their contract mandating they stay covered.
Teachers educate your kids and get a pension as a reward. The BTU bosses never step up to a blackboard or grade a test, but get the same pension.
The BTU justifies this special treatment by paying the school system annually for the pension benefit.
The BTU payments amount to pocket change. That’s because txpayers will be paying for the BTU leaders retirement well into the middle of this century.
Let the AFL-CIO give BTU officers a pension. After all, they are working for the union.
How many other taxpayers would love the opportunity to buy into a pension plan guaranteed by the state?
Many would, I bet.
Because lots of Floridians are suffering from sinking property values, shriveling 401Ks, higher prices on everything and cutbacks in government services. Retirement for many looks bleak.
Those who have public pensions are isolated from that.
Here is what Barron’s on March 15 says is on the horizon because of public pensions:
“Dramatic cuts in essential services, such as police and fire protection, health spending, education and infrastructure improvements in order to cover ballooning pension payments.
The public pension plan has become a trough that taxpayers have to fill. Most public employees pay nothing or very little to get the pension.
And there is more bad news. The Florida plan is running a deficit for the first time in a dozen years.
We can’t afford the pension abuse any longer. Something has got to be done.
Don’t get me wrong: It would be unfair to penalize retired workers, who worked under a legal obligation and a moral promise they would be covered by a pension. In Florida, many older workers were allowed to avoid paying into Social Security in return for the promise of a pension.
The rules must change for current workers and new hires. And the BTU.
The Legislature must:
- Make employees pay more for participation in the plan.
- Ease new employees into 401K plans and away from defined pension plans.
- Change the formula so that employees can’t inflate their pensions in final years by working extra hours. Some police and fire fighters put in extra overtime their final years to pump up their pensions and it’s got to stop.
Disaster is on the way. How will you feel when parks and libraries are closed, so that retired park workers and librarians can continue to get their pensions?