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Gazette Editorial

Spinning the numbers on public pensions

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You’ve heard it over and over, including in this column: Public employees get generous pensions. And you’ve heard the examples — the Rotterdam patrolman with his $95,000 a year, teachers retiring at age 55 with 60 percent of pay, and that sort of thing. Then along comes the state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, to say no, no, the whole thing is a misunderstanding, just a lot of “misleading reports in the media.” “The average pension is ...


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comments

palinny
March 13, 2012
12:59 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Excellent column.
Pension reform is needed across the board--state workers, teachers, police, firefighters.

JOBES
March 13, 2012
7:04 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

When I chose to work for the state around 25 years ago after graduating college I did so not to make millions but because I hoped I could make a decent middle class salary with good benefits and a good retirement package. My starting salary 25 years ago for a job which required at least a bachelors degree was less than $25K. I could have pursued MUCH HIGHER paying jobs in the private sector but that was the route I chose. I'm still not making millions but I've worked hard to get to where I'm at. So now that I'm well into my 40's you want to change the rules and take my pension away? Unfortunately at this point I can't get a do over and choose to pursue those higher paying private sector jobs from 20 years ago. After 25 yrs I'd probably take home around $30K a year if I retired now. I'll be working another 20 years, for a total of 45, before I retire and i still won't take home $40K, it'll probably be around $35K. Carl, that's not reasonable for 40+ years of state service in a career path I chose shortly after college????

clifford
March 13, 2012
8:57 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Carl your numbers are wacky I worked 21 years as a cop retired at 60,000 and got a pension of 29,000 I now work for the state in an unrelated job and get less than half of that 29,000 because of prohibition of double dipping. I wont get another pension from state. Iam grateful for what i got but it burns me when people think cops are on the gravy train when Iam pulling in 13,000 a year and my situation is the norm not the one you illustrate.

justapto
March 13, 2012
11:04 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Those cops and firmen are mostly upper management who have over 35 years. The average 'joe' gets 1/2 of last 3 years average gross. Perhaps 1/2 of $60,000.

cfield
March 13, 2012
12:27 p.m.

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Carl- outstanding job on your column. Not only have you exposed the 1/2 truths the political machine tells the public, you have exposed the very people that are elected by the people but in fact represent the unions. I should hope that you keep on track with this investigative reporting and expose exactly the people whom supposedly represent the taxpayers of this state. We need to expose why exactly these union contract negotiations for years have been negotiated behind closed doors.I as a taxpayer should have the right to know of these contact talks and have the right to rescind them. Again Carl I congratulate you on a great column.

safny
March 13, 2012
2:04 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

First of all, police officers and firefighters are local employees. Their pension deals are not the same as those of state employees. The pension plan is for state AND local employees, but not everything is the same in terms of number of years worked, other health insurance benefits, etc. If you want to understand how it all works, go the the state comptroller's website, go to pensions and read the different books for each tier. THEN go to any county or locality to see if THEIR retirement info from their contracts can be located on the web and read that. What strikes me as more unfair is that people who work in local governments and make political contacts can go to work in Albany for the state later in their careers, make 80,000 or more for a few years and then get that figured into their pensions.

Niskyboy
March 14, 2012
9:11 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Good column, Carl. I work for myself. Business is picking up this year but has been mostly down since 2008. I don't have a pension beyond what I can shove into a Roth or a SIMPLE IRA myeslf. Haven't been able to put in anything for a few years. No help with health costs. No employer match, either -- all that would mean is I'd have to put in twice as much myself. I'm in my fifties so there's no way I'm going to be able to retire at 65. Just finished doing my taxes. Bothers me that I'm likely facing a crummy financial future while the taxes from my thin pockets are, in part, going to subsidize the lifestyles of people with extraordinarily genrous pension packages. We shouldn't tolerate this. For the most part the services these folks provided aren't so valuable, nor are they so specialized, that supporting them in comfort for the rest of their lives once they retire is justifiable.

miketomm
March 23, 2012
4:36 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Well done Mr Strock - This really is your forte.
You really should stick to exposing gov't scams and spend less time on the various follies and idiosyncrasies of the many religions that you report on.

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