This one is special to me. The reason being is the author is my aunt. But she’s a little bit ignorant of a few facts on the issue. I called her this morning to talk to her about it.
Elaine Rittmann: Fairer coverage, younger teachers needed
01:00 AM EST on Friday, January 16, 2009
I listened to Governor Carcieri’s speech on Jan. 7 with much interest. I applaud him for having the courage to change our system.
With skyrocketing medical- insurance costs hitting those in the public sector, public employees should receive benefits commensurate with the private sector and pay similar premiums and co-payments.
Their benefits should be terminated upon retirement and they should have to find coverage in the same manner as non-state workers.
Listening to the Governor can be hazardous to your health and mental well being. Carcieri is the clearest example of what I know as failing upward.
I can’t wait for the 2010 elections though I’m not exactly happy with the candidate choices. So far I know that Patrick Lynch, Elizabeth Roberts, Frank Caprio and David Cicilline have all voiced intentions of running. And if truth be known, I’d say Lynch gets it because his brother is state Dem Party Chair for the moment. I’ve heard no rumblings from the Republican party.
When I first started as as state employee back in 2001 we didn’t pay a dime for our coverage and we had $5 prescription co-pays and $10 office visit co-pays. By the time I’d gone back as a state employee in 2004, we were paying a hefty chunk of the cost of our coverage plus our co pays skyrocketed.
As to termination of benefits upon retirement that just shifts the burden a bit but you pay for it one way or another until the day we have a single payer or universal health care system in this country. It’ll be an uphill battle but if we stick together we can overcome the forces of big business insurers and billing companies.
With regard to pensions, I have to put aside a large part of my salary into a 401(k) plan and an IRA if I am to have any hope of retiring at 66. The funds will be there when I need them, but I will not have a 3 percent cost-of-living increase yearly. State workers should have to make contributions to a plan as well.
Why should we foot the bill for them to retire early when we have to work well into our 60’s and find our own way to afford retirement? When did things get so twisted around that we support a plan that clearly puts the private-sector worker at such a disadvantage? .
Because it is the deal that was negotiated with the governor. Carcieri likes to go back on his word and his efforts to vilify state employees really sticks in my craw. Instead keep reading and you’ll see where the real anger should be focused.
State employees currently kick 8.75% and teachers contribute 9.25% of their gross pay ito the RI Employee’s Retirement System. As it currently exists, you have to be in for a certain amount of time before you can retire, I believe the minimum is 20 years and now the age limits have gone up too, I think it’s 62 before you can really get full benefit. Funding of these benefits isn’t solely on the taxpayer, it’s on all state employees too.
As far as COLA, so how else do they supplement their income? Get a part time job? That just shifts the burden elsewhere too.
You’re right though, the general attitude toward the working class in this country has been rather poor since the Reagan years. The name of the game has been the bottom line, screw the assets called employees.
I also think the April 1 cutoff for the retirees is great. When the teachers due to retire are gone, we will have an influx of new teachers, with new ideas, and more modern teaching methods. I think that this will benefit our children. Thanks again, Governor, for bringing Rhode Island into the 21st Century!
I hate to break this to you but there hasn’t been a sea change in teaching methods for at least the past twenty years. It might be a little but tougher to certify but nothing more than that. You have basic learning methods, the visual, the aural and the haptic. That will never change.
And here is another thing. You can most certainly drop a new teacher into a school without too much stress because teachers are trained for that. However, in the rest of the state there are people with very specialized institutional knowledge. You think the state operates like a real business but it doesn’t. It’s convoluted to say the least. But always keep in mind the one body that controls it all.
The body I speak of is the legislature. They’re the ones who control the purse strings in this state. See this point about the tax breaks and give-aways that our legislature granted as of October of 2008.
Governor Carcieri is the master of misdirection.
And I say fuck you Governor Carcieri for keeping RI mired in the 20th Century!