Emerald Isle, N.C.

June 28, 2021

TO THE EDITOR:

Your Sunday (June 27) editorial had high praise for the budget passed by the NC Senate. And, while this spending plan does provide financial support for a number of programs that will benefit our state, the budget does not include a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for the almost 2700 state and local government retirees that call Carteret County home.

These pensioners provided all kinds of services to our state and local governments over their professional careers, taking salaries that were in many cases lower than the private sector but always believing they would be taken care of in retirement by the very state they served.

Many of these pensioners worked in dangerous positions in prisons and law enforcement. Other pensioners taught our children, worked in state hospitals, on our highways and in human service fields. Local government pensioners provided services through counties and cities that literally kept the wheels of local government turning. Statewide there are over 300,000 of us who spent our professional careers serving this state.

Since 2008, inflation has eaten away about 20% of our retirement value. Over that same 13-year time frame, NC has provided a total of 3% in COLA adjustments for state government pensioners while local government retirees have received less than a 1% increase.

Living up to the promise made to government workers is not a gift; it is a requirement of state government to take care of those who took care of the state over their careers. Those very same people who helped the state get into a strong financial position would now like for state government to use some of those funds to help pensions recover some of the value lost since the 2008 recession.

Living up to that promise also makes good sense if state and local governments want to continue to recruit and retain high quality personnel. And finally, exactly where would the state have been without its dedicated public servants during this pandemic?

Frankly, the state has never been in a better financial position to help retirees and make good on its promise and that begs the question, if not now, when?

I hope that Representative McElraft will work to get her House colleagues to remember local and state pensioners in their version of the budget.

MICHAEL TAYLOR

(20) comments

David Collins

Having two pensioners in my house , things are not bad at all . Both of us took advantage of the 403-B investment scheme and upon retirement rolled over to a Roth account worked out quite well . Cash is not our problem plus we pay no state income tax .

The only problem we see is the healthcare part of the program . It changes yearly and so do the co-pays . My co-pays are far less than hers with some things but one can modify and adapt . Kind of like whack-a-mole .

Are you going to be rich and live on a Caribbean island , well some can if they invested properly and did not trade cars and boats yearly . My Dad always said to live well below your means and do not worry about keeping up with the Jones . It worked !

carteretresident

Stop trying to force your Obamacare on everyone.

DeadBolt

Yea, one could make the case for the rest of America that no one 'deserves ' a cradle to grave paycheck from ANY employer, regardless of how 'mediocre' , or often times low paying their CHOICE for a job in earlier life was. However, this is what it is, and barring the continued path i KNOW is going to keep right on rolling, etc, etc, simply look to the past models and take an educated guess on when the government may hit you with your next 'quarter', hahahahahhaha. (remember, its the 'government', not the brightest or cleanest tool in the shed). [yawn]

David Collins

So true ,Deadbolt . All could change with a stroke of a pen . Of course the politicians involved would be exempt , due to the dignity of their jobs as Pelosi has famously stated . Just a little bit more deserving than the little people . Hopefully our plan B and C would tide us over until the eternal dirt nap arrives . Being proactive is something not taught in today’s society . It has been replaced with dependence on government . So sad !

sick and tired

I bet the farm the military retirees feel the same way. Although unless things have changed they were not offered all those "retirement" investment plans, and they do pay taxes on their retirement checks. Unless it has changed, they pay premiums for their "free" insurance, and receive about 20% per month of what they got while "serving" this state and all the other states. Now, I hear the officers get a better deal but all the rest better have a job lined up after their 20 years of "service". Oh and if their spouses want to get 20% of the retirees 20% there is a premium for that too.

drewski

The cost of living goes up on average 3% a yr. If you are not getting 3% cola then you are falling behind. In 10 yrs you have 30% less real income. That goes a long waY to explain how many elderly folks I see working, they have grown used to luxuries like food and air conditioning.

David Collins

Who can reasonably expect to retire with full benefits after 20 years ? Just ain’t gonna happen , no matter what the recruiter said . Need to read the contract . Yeah survivor benefits cost as well as any insurances . Again read the contract . Everything has it’s costs , just part of life and not gonna change . Retirees go back to work for many reasons including being invaded by their unemployed spawn complete with children . Just temporarily of course , not to exceed 99 years . The changing of America continues .

Sleepwalker

Folks....don’t feel too sorry for the vets... at least not some of them. I’m a senior and veteran. I work with a bunch of retired military and veterans that served their 4 years and got out. I’ve never seen so many scamming the system in my life. As bad as welfare. I could go into detail but it would be a lengthy post. Just take the “disabled vet” license plate with a grain of salt. Most that I know never fired a weapon combat nor have they even been in the vicinity of anything related to combat arms.

drewski

I can second that, from my various employment I speculate 30% of disabled vets are scamming, many getting 100% disability, for " back injuries" , I was in a car wreck , I have ptsd, I have overheard conversations on how to apply, what to say, and what you want to get in your medical record while on active duty, to set you up for a lifetime of tax free checks.

Merely being a vet does not automatically make you a hero, honest, or a good person.

David Collins

Agree completely . The word Vet , just like Hero , has become way overused and lost it’s meaning .

Sleepwalker

Ski... I agree... I thought that medical compensation was because you got hurt and can long perform the job you were doing. Ex: a service member (aircraft mechanic) busts his knee playing soccer in al assad in Iraq. Medical discharge... getting hefty check and piles on other ailments as he goes which equals heftier check. Now he’s at a gov installation (close) doing the exact same job (aircraft mechanic) as a civil servant. Just one example out of dozens i can provide.

sick and tired

Wow ruffled a few feathers making a comparison. Reading my comment nowhere did I see the word Veteran. Retiree as in someone who served 20 or 30 years but people read what they want to read. Isn't that what the article was about retirees and their pension and the lack of cola increases?? So the 4 years in, hurt playing soccer blah blah blah comments are not only irrelevant to the article but has nothing to do with retirees. I googled it and being discharged isn't the same as retiring. There are certainly scammers every where sucking up money. I don't have to deal with the military in my daily life. I have had to deal with government employees plenty. Most act like why am I bothering them at work asking them to do their jobs. Before those feathers get all ruffled again I SAID most not all. There are a few who will help you, and be really nice. Then there are the rest of them.

Sleepwalker

 The retirees are way worse than anyone else. No where can you retire with a full pension AND collect monthly compensation for alleged injuries. My veteran comment was just a little added info for those that need google. Now you know the diff. You’re welcome.

(Edited by staff.)

JusticeForAll

There are scammers in every part of life.

(Edited by staff.)

DeadBolt

Mostly referring to the likes of the post office model concerning government, of course private firms are excluded. (their not using tax dollars).

David Collins

Ok , retirees in general , end of working productive days . Out to pasture .

S S was bumped up , Medicare costs were bumped up , Medicaid has been expanded . Basically you did not plan for retirement . Where you are today is generally a result of your decision making process during your working years . Not going to expound but it is pretty simple . What you sow , you usually reap . Plus , we are living way too long .

noitall

Bag some grocery's. The Dems added Social Security to the taxable income, Bill Clinton did it. Repeal it. Double taxation.

drewski

The taxation of Social Security began in 1984 following passage of a set of Amendments in 1983, which were signed into law by President Reagan in April 1983. These amendments passed the Congress in 1983 on an overwhelmingly bi-partisan vote.

David Collins

Last I knew S S deductions came from before tax income . Might have changed butttttt . The majority of SS income dependents are not taxed on it because they do not make enough to be taxed . Now we are talking federal income tax , are we not ? Other than that they are fleeced every day with ever mounting hidden taxes on everything they consume . Some one has to pay for the give always and general waste that we seem to have fallen in love with .

DeadBolt

As long as the government servants control the levers of the 'medicine' , the levers of the 'payment for the medicine' , as well as the Dr's , writing scripts for the 'SAME MEDICINE', well, your in a FIXED GAME. THERES YOUR GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE. <------------ Their comisions go up the more you taxpayers use them, by way of regulation, your wallet goes down. Oh, and for Social Security, um, yea, lol, Same game with your retirement, on a whole host of issues. Biggest problem with the is that UNCLE SAM is really bad at math! (and has a lot of rogue in him too). Top this all with trading the American's assets , (listed by me in health, and finances), to ILLEGAL ALIENS in the form of multitudes of 'free money scheme's ' ,(reducing YOUR MONEY), its a huge ball of you know what. Almost a pure monopoly .

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