Letters

Teacher pension plan is shortsighted

October 17, 2014
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Editor:

Sen. Mark Jansen is proposing a further way to degrade the ability of public school employees to make a secure life for themselves and their families.

He is proposing that the current hybrid pension system be scrapped for new employees and replaced with a risky 401(k)-type system. We all know these are not secure. He is counting on young people who have not a thought about retirement to be OK with this. This approach is very short-sighted.

My understanding is that if the pension system is ended, the state will need to allocate tens of millions of dollars into that system or else risk the chance that current employees will see their pensions reduced in future years. Where will the money come from? The solution is to keep legislative promises made — not to change the law to break more promises.

Jansen says his new plan will make the system more stable, which may be true. But slashing pension benefits for future retirees is a terrible way to make the system more stable. Moreover, in terms of school employee quality and retention, the change would have devastating effects, which in the end will become more costly to students and their future. How many devoted teachers and school personnel do you think might have given up their career over the years due to stress, increasing lack of support, even hostility toward the profession, but for the knowledge that at the end of the road, there would be compensation? There will be nothing but devotion holding school employees in their positions if that option is ended.

Please advocate against Sen. Jansen’s plan.

Abbey Fitzpatrick
Spring Lake

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