“That is good to know but the majority of Republicans and Teaparty members (especially) certainly did. Unions have been under major attack here in New Jersey, when the senior citizens that pack Chris Christies "town meetings" understand what is being done to ALL OF US hopefully they will smarten up and stop blindly following along.”
“Firefighters and police don't put into social security so they don't receive it when they retire. Their pension is all they get. A 401K might be good enough but that isn't the agreement they made. Look, everyone LOST money in the past few years, that doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water. Things will get better!!
I don't put much stake in figures "all in cost" posted without proof and from someone who doesn't know all the facts obviously.”
MrMaus on Mar 3, 2011 at 15:17:46
“I sit on the financial advisory council of a small town in CA. We have run the firefighter number 17 ways to Sunday. Our town is at the high end at about $300,000 per, but the average across CA is $250,000 per. That is from desk clerk to chief.
The whole point is why do they get a pension different from the rest of society? Or better put, why do they need something different? The two biggest hedge funds in the world (CalPERS and CalSTRS) are run for the benefit of CA state employees with an explicit backstop of the CA taxpayer. If the hedge funds do not earn the 8% (per year annually in perpetuity) our elected officials have promised (great "agreement" our elected officials made) then the taxpayer has to pony up the difference. Please explain to me why? Why not give them social security and then let them put money into a 401k, that can still give money to hedge funds, but not with a taxpayer backstop.
"Things will get better" The last time they got "better" was the dot com bubble and our elected officials gave the employees a 40% bonus on their benefits.
The point is to stop our elected officials from being able to give deals like these in the future and maybe even try and restructure the ones we have today so we are not screwed by them.”
“The STATE doesn't pay them their salaries while they are on the job - THE TOWN AND MUNICIPALITY they work for pays them!
Pension doesn't include overtime. It's based on salary not salary plus overtime. Unless you know differently FOR SURE regarding NYC cops because I know FOR SURE that isn't the case here across the river.
People assume so much, oh how much those cops make stand around while PSE&G fixes a wire .... PSE&G pays those cops, not the state....
I agree the state SHOULD be required to HAVE THE MONEY THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO at the ready and if they did, guess what, there would be NO TALK AT ALL about sustainability (gosh I hate that buzz word) or anything like that! If the state's didn't screw with OUR money it WOULD BE THERE!”
“Where are those contracts? Proof please. Full retirement, which is 70% (at most) of the last 3 to 5 years pay is after 30 years. Are you telling me someone became a career firefighter at 15 years of age?? I didn't think so. Where are the "generous" contracts?
Let me tell you about my husband's generous contract. 30+ years of being spit on, cussed at, bled on, shit on, increased risk of cancer, heart attack and PTSD, decreased life expectancy, not to mention the missed birthdays, t-ball games, holidays etc., and he was promised 70% of his salary (NOT including overtime) which is WELL UNDER $100,000.00 as long as he put in 8.5% of his salary (INCLUDING any overtime). I'm sorry but I don't think that is overly generous. My husband will put in his 30 years. If he lives 10 years past retirement he will be beating the odds.
Today as I type this he is at the bedside of yet another firefighter brother who will most likely lose his life this year to cancer. I can't tell you how many he has said goodbye to in the past 27 years but I can say it is too many.
Anyone who begrudges these men and women their reward at the end of their career should be ashamed of themselves.”
“NOT true. Taxpayers do not provide ANYONE with a full salary etc., Pensions are a portion of what a person earned. 60% - 70% usually. People PAY INTO their pension fund for the purpose of their retirement. For fire & police this is called DEFERRED compensation. You are hired to do a job (that not too many people are willing to do) for a LOWER salary than you should be getting with the promise you will be compensated later. So we pay for 30 years (8.5% of yearly salary in our case INCLUDING overtime) and receive 70% NOT including overtime. While the STATE has that money they INVEST AND USE THE MONEY - it doesn't sit in a savings account people!
Unions such as the FMBA and the PBA (public unions) look out for the SAFETY of their members as well as their financial well being. That is SO important to a firefighter or police officer!!”
MrMaus on Mar 2, 2011 at 16:54:28
“First, the value of the "future" benefits are understated by GASB, so they are putting $0.80 into an annuity that is worth $1.00.
Second, why isn't social security good enough for public employees? Why isn't a 401k good enough? Why should they be allowed to get a government guarantee on their retirement fund (regardless of who is paying in) when a private employee can't? Yes, the unions run the biggest hedge funds in the world (CalPERS and CalSTRS) which invest and use the money. But if they lose money (or don't earn the 8% they have promised) they get to ask the taxpayer to top up the fund for them. And if they over earn then they lobby the state to up the benefits (State of California in 1999 increased benefits by 40%).
The all in cost for a firefighter in California is about $250,000 per year. Is it really worth that?”
spoonbill1963 on Mar 2, 2011 at 13:05:50
“The point is these pensions are too high. We need to go the 401k route.”
caveman06 on Mar 2, 2011 at 12:57:46
“So what about the pay cops, firemen & teachers get while they are waiting for their DEFERRED COMPENSATION? Let me guess, they are making lunch money right??
NOT!!! Some cops in NYC at the end of their carrer work an incredile amount of overtime the last three years of their job to inflate their final payout because the final payout is based on the final three years pay. That would be the point where they can be expected to be making the most salary to begin with. It's not unheard of for those cops after their OVERTIME pay to pull in well over $100k. This is what their pension payments are base on.
So please go scream fire in a crowded theatre somewhere else.
The state should be required to have that money sitting in a bank somewhere. Do you want to know why? Because then the state would realize that theire isn't enough money to pay the pensions. Then where would that leave the unions?”
“Oh of course!! Retiring on over $100K per year. People just love to throw those numbers around! You do know there are websites where you can check salaries since they are public employees and since my own husband is a firefighter I know the truth. 27+ years a career firefighter and he makes well under $100,000 in a New Jersey (some of the highest paid) municipality. They retire after THIRTY years on the job with 70% of their salary and NO it does NOT include overtime (just one more untruth thrown around).”
patienttype on Mar 1, 2011 at 21:45:10
“Sorry, not $100,000 salaries, these are $100,000 retirements.”
patienttype on Mar 1, 2011 at 21:44:17
“$100,000 public employee salaries in California. Listed by agency and name.”
“In my world it is called deferred compensation. Hire a man to do a job that most people wouldn't do for all the money in the world. Tell him you will pay him $20,000 or $30,000 less than his neighbor earns and that if he puts in his time and plays by the rules you will take care of him later. My husbands life expectancy has been reduced simply by becoming a firefighter. His risk of heart attack and cancer is increased. He misses holidays, birthdays, weddings etc., People spit on him, cuss at him, bleed on him, throw up on him all while he is trying to help them. That's all he ever wanted to do, help people and his municipality that he has given 27+ years to has promised him that. This is corruption to you? Shame on you.”
“This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. My father was a Teamster and my husband is a firefighter, 27+ years now. I know what my husband has in his heart. He is not a greedy person, he did not become a firefighter to get rich. He is a giving, caring, hard working person who would, frankly, give his life for yours. To read and to hear people speak of him the way they are these days breaks my heart.”
hdc77494 on Mar 2, 2011 at 04:18:33
“We're not talking about individual workers, we're talking about the abuse of power occurring between the union bosses and the democrat politicians. That said, do you really think your husband should be able to retire at 45 and collect full retirement and benefits for more years than he actually worked,costing more that his total pay for those twenty five years? There are many police and firemen with contracts like that, and regardless of how great an individual they are, taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for insanely generous contracts.”
patienttype on Mar 1, 2011 at 19:23:14
“I am running into firefighters who are genuinely surprised that many members of the public is angry at them and, rather than heroes, see them as greedy opportunists.
Some of these firefighters, here in California, are earning $120,000 to $160,000 per year. And, they're retiring with pensions of over $100,000 a year.
In our area the average family income is $78,000 per year. Many families have lost their homes. Many hard working and proud people who have now lost their jobs are forced to feed their children with food stamps. In the middle of this economic mess, the firefighter's union just contributed $20,000 to a local ballot measure they helped sponsor to increase sales tax by 1/2 percent. Why? With real estate prices no longer increasing and so many foreclosed homes, property tax revenues are down. The city can't afford the rapidly increasing cost of public safety pensions. Not so heroic.
Many firefighters chose their profession in order to serve their communities and to make a difference. In much of the United States, firefighters don't enjoy excessive pay and retirement packages that we have here in California. It is unfortunate that the public image of those well-intentioned men and women is being besmirched by their avaricious brethren. But that is the reality of what's happening.”
sanityisneeded on Mar 1, 2011 at 18:35:05
“No one is denegrating your husband. The focus is on the unions and their sometime lack of flexibility. Our military personnel give their lives every day to protect us and they aren't union owned. It is when unions want to run the business of the people and protect those who are not serving the community competently and should be removed. The poor performers need to be removed and unions protect them. In my mind, that is a disservice to your husband and his fellow firefighters - same for teachers and many others.”
leggs67 on Mar 1, 2011 at 17:46:32
“We are lucky there are people like your husband in our world.”