Paying their fair share?

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Paying their fair share?

Post by T on Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:24 pm

Below is a comment posted at the Sun Journal in reaction to an article [ SJ Article ] regarding Governor LePage's proposed budget. I'm am not singling out Mr. Perry per se, but his comment is typically ignorant.


Edward Perry at 1:09 pm on Mar 02, 2011

state workers wanted to get paid like the public sector ,they can start paying their share!



Here are some facts that might help people like Mr. Perry become better informed citizens:

As of July 1, 1993, public school teachers contribute 7.65% of their income to the Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MPERS). That’s compared to 6.2% that private sector employees pay to the federal Social Security System. Maine's teachers are paying more than their fair share. No matter what Governor LePage would have you believe, Maine IS NOT Wisconsin where they presently pay 0%.

Members of MPERS are not eligible for The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, a temporary reduction in the employee share of Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI or social security) tax that private sector employees are now receiving. Once again, Maine's MPERS members are paying more than their fair share.

Most public school teachers presently retired are not eligible for Medicare when they turn 65.

MPERS COLAs are based on the CPI-U. MPERS members have not received a COLA for two years and unlike those receiving a Social Security benefit, their benefit was actually reduced two years ago. Teacher retirees are contributing “the same shared sacrifice” as the governor described. I’d support the elimination of MPERS COLAs provided all those receiving a Social Security benefit do the same. I doubt the American private sector worker would share in this reduction in benefits.

Maine's public school teachers do not contribute to the federal Social Security system (not their choice) and cannot receive a Social Security benefit based on their teacher wages. Should a teacher have Social Security wages during his/her lifetime based on work outside of public school teaching (employment in the private sector) which qualifies him/her for a Social Security benefit, that benefit, even though the systems are unrelated, is reduced due to receiving a MPERS benefit. This is known as the Federal 2/3rds Pension Offset provision. In the private sector, Social Security benefits ARE NOT reduced or offset should an employee receive a pension from an employer, whether it is a "defined plan" or not.

I support changes to the Maine Public Employee Retirement System for those who have time to plan for and adapt to these changes (e.g., new hires). To ask a 75 year old retired teacher with an annual retirement benefit of $19,000 (this is the average benefit in Maine) and no Social Security benefit to accept a reduction of this benefit violates a commitment and long-term agreement between the people of Maine and Maine’s public school teachers.

T

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Re: Paying their fair share?

Post by T on Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:24 pm

I find it ironic that Mr. Perry supports tax payer subsidized wind projects.

Can you say hypocrite? ...or at least inconsistent?

Remember, conservatives spend the tax payers' money like drunken sailors too...just on different things (in this case subsidizing corporate America..again).

T

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Re: Paying their fair share?

Post by T on Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:57 pm

Some facts to consider:

1. Governor LePage’s draft budget comes out of the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

2. Teachers and state employees are being asked to contribute $524 million dollars to support K-12 schools, fund highways, and reduce taxes for Maine’s wealthiest.

3. Retiree pensions would be frozen for an additional three years.

4. Future COLAS would be capped at 2% - a reduction from the current 4%.

This would mean that retired teachers living on fixed incomes (current average benefit = $19,000/year) would have their benefits frozen for five years while all their living expenses would continue to go up. The only possible relief would be a 2% increase in 2014.

5. The state’s contribution for retiree health insurance would be frozen for two years and then be capped at 4% thereafter. This freeze would come at a time when health insurance premiums are expected to increase between 12% and 15% annually. It has been projected that within ten years, retirees will no longer have the resources to purchase health insurance. This reneges on the state’s promise of paying 45% of an individual premium.

6. Current teachers would be required to contribute an additional 2% of their salary to MEPERS.

7. Currently, teachers pay 7.65% of their salary to MEPERS and 1.45% to Medicare for a total of 9.1%. Governor LePage’s proposed budget would increase the total employee contribution to 11.1%. Private sector employees pay only 7.65% for both Social Security and Medicare.

8. Maine ranks 44th in the nation in teacher compensation.

9. Maine is ranked 15th in the nation for student achievement in the annual 2011 “Quality Counts” report by Education Week.

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Re: Paying their fair share?

Post by T on Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:01 pm

Considering FACT #7 alone, it would seem to me that private sector employees are the ones not "paying their fair share".

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Re: Paying their fair share?

Post by 911Dispatcher on Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:43 pm

You also realize that during the 80's the state borrowed money from the teachers pension fund to help dig the state out of finacial trouble. Promising to pay back that loan so that teachers would not lose out. Did they ever pay back that money?????? No they did not.

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Re: Paying their fair share?

Post by T on Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:41 pm

"Last Friday, it was revealed that the (governor's) plan would actually reduce the state's contribution by about two percent. The money the state saves would be put into other parts of the budget."

WCSH6

The state reduces its' contribution by 2% and public employees increase their contribution by 2% to fund, NOT the Maine Public Employees Retirement System - the system that is supposed to be in such dire financial straits, but to fund road construction, snow plowing, and tax cuts for the wealthy. This is deja vu all over again. Governor McKernan did exactly the same thing which is partly why the Maine Public Employees Retirement System is in trouble.

Outrageous


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