Richard Kappmeier: State’s public employees need to work longer

February 22, 2014 

California will, in three years, be paying CalPERS $5 billion a year for “public employee pension costs.” The article “CalPERS to speed rate increases” (Feb. 19, Page A3) states the reason for the additional $1.2 billion in taxpayer money is “new studies showing longer life expectancies for retirees.”

The solution to the unfunded pension issue is simple: If government retirees are living longer, then they can, and must, work longer. No more “30 years and I’m out!”

The article states: “The fund, whose board tilts toward union interests, is wary of squeezing government for more money because it inflames the political backlash against public employee pensions.”

We need to remove the salary, pension and benefits from the politicians who grovel to the union money. Name an autonomous authority composed of members from the business community charged with negotiating a fair deal for the employees and a fiduciary responsible deal for the taxpayers. Senior government managers and politicians won’t “negotiate” hard, as the more wages and pension benefits given to their workers inflates their own compensation. Let’s bring public employees in line with the private sector – work till your mid- to late 60s and retire with a 401(k) to which the employee contributes.

RICHARD KAPPMEIER

Modesto

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