When does too much of a good thing become overindulgence, gluttony and greed? Just how high is the ceiling for pensions in State government? You are the employer and, it is your money. Just how much are you willing to give away before you feel you have been fleeced and taken advantage of?
Recent press reports indicate nearly 400 retired state employees are collecting pensions of more than $100,000 with the highest being $263,047. Now, I understand our legislators promised and approve of this spending but how much is too much? The number of pensions in the over $100,000 bracket is expanding rapidly, increasing from 175 in 2008 to nearly 400 in 2010!
I am not denying that State employees are due the pension under their contracts and it should be paid but it is time to stop the insanity and change the contracts. These are top pensions no doubt, and paid to what you would hope are intelligent people able to make investment decisions on their own. They have been high income wage earners and should be fully capable of investing for their own future on the generous wages they have earned from their State employment.
It is time for the State of Connecticut to discontinue the defined benefit plan for pensions and join the real world, the same world those that pay the bills operate in. We, the taxpayers can no longer promise and guarantee pensions that have no economic basis in reality. The real world of employment today finds taxpayers having defined contribution accounts with their employers, 401(k) style accounts. Defined benefit pension programs are a thing of the past, like hoop skirts and buggy whips.
It is time for the State of Connecticut to institute a ceiling on existing defined benefit pension plans. It seems reasonable that if you are earning wages that would result in a pension of over $100,000 that the State has already provided sufficient resources to provide for investment opportunities that will deliver retirement income. I’d say it is time to limit State pensions to a ceiling of $100,000.
The idea of a pension ceiling should be an easy vote in the State Legislature if the Democratic majority is consistent with their rhetoric. This idea should also gain the approval of Governor Malloy since both the majority legislators and the Governor think we should be raising taxes on “the rich”. This would accomplish just that, instead of raising their taxes we just wouldn’t give more money to them and then have to collect it back from them. The idea works for me as a taxpayer.
Somehow it just seems that, with some State pensions as high as $263,047 and 24 retired State workers making more in retirement than we pay our Governor we have gone to far and are paying too much for pensions. Before the tax and spend crowd reads this and thinks I want to raise the Governor’s salary that is not the case, but I do think it is time for our elected officials to stop the insanity when it comes to pension plans offered in Connecticut State government employment.