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From the public employee’s view

November 25, 2011
Morning Journal News


This letter is in response to very misleading statements made by your editorial staff in an "In Our Opinion" column dated Nov. 16. In the editorial you advised that "Few Buckeye State workers in the private sector enjoy defined benefit pensions funded 90 percent by employers." Public pensions in Ohio are not funded 90 percent by the taxpayer/employers. In the case of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, employees pay 10 percent of their wages into the system and the governmental agency they work for pays 14 percent into the system; not the 90 percent you allude to. These funds combined together and invested in American companies and businesses provide the monthly benefits to retired public workers.

You also talk about the enjoyment of a defined benefit pension. I'm sure you are aware that Social Security is also a defined benefit system enjoyed by 55 million Americans. These monthly Social Security benefits are paid out through the good faith and credit of our federal government as opposed to investments in private companies with public pensions. However, you may not be aware that public employees that work other jobs in the private sector before, during and after their public employment pay their full tax share into the Social Security system but are prohibited by law to receive full benefits.

In this same editorial you seem to want to allude that public employees are not taxpayers and that only private sector employees pay to keep public pensions solvent. That is far from the truth. Every single public worker pays the same tax rate as a private sector employee and their taxes like all others support their own community, county and state.

Finally, nearly two years ago in 2009, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System submitted to the Ohio State Legislature a list of proposed changes to maintain the solvency of the system that did not include additional taxpayer funding. This legislation has languished in committees and needs acted upon now.

Richard Sell

New Waterford

President PERI Chapter 59



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