Skip to comments.City in Rhode Island Asks Retirees to Sacrifice
Posted on 07/21/2011 6:52:42 AM PDT by Zakeet
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. The retirees came from near and far, gathering in a muggy auditorium here to listen to an urgent pitch: give back a big chunk of your pension or risk losing it all.
This city of 19,000 is broke and headed for bankruptcy, partly because it has promised retired police and firefighters millions of dollars in pensions and benefits that it cannot begin to afford.
And so Robert G. Flanders Jr., a state-appointed receiver who is trying to right the citys finances, found himself on the stage at Central Falls High School on Tuesday, asking retirees to help solve a horrible dilemma by giving up a significant part of what they had always assumed was untouchable income.
No one blames any of you for this situation, Mr. Flanders told the retirees, many of whom appeared well into their 70s and 80s. We understand, believe me, that we are asking for great unanticipated sacrifices. But there is simply no money in the city to continue on the current path.
But the initial response suggested it would be no easy sell. Why should they be punished for the citys financial missteps over the years, some retirees asked? Why not keep raising taxes instead?
Like many other municipal workers around the country, public safety employees in Central Falls do not pay into Social Security and thus get no Social Security benefits after retirement, a point that several complained about at the meeting.
Although many of the retirees were elderly, some in the crowd were still in their 40s and 50s, people who were allowed to retire early under the citys rules.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Sign ‘em up for Army boot camp?
If i started a business and hired you, and told you to pay 15% of your salary to me and I would take care of you when you retire, and then you found out I was SPENDING the money - what would you do?
Would you take my word for it that when you retire i will pay you out of income I am making THEN?
Why did anyone think that same plan was smart for the government?
Most of those guys in the first few rows do not appear to be retirement-age. Do they get full pensions at 45?
“But the initial response suggested it would be no easy sell. Why should they be punished for the citys financial missteps over the years, some retirees asked? Why not keep raising taxes instead?”
Missteps like the pensions that is bankrupting the city?
And way to offer a solution. “Raise taxes”?
No wonder they are govt. workers.
In my state the elederly can NEVER have their property taxes raise EVER... they are fixed at whatever they were when they turned 65. Quirks like this for certain “special” groups are contributing greatly to the problem.
This is the kind of nonsense that needs to end. Why should the elderly only a fraction of what everyone else is paying in property taxes?
because those over 65 have a limited range of options to earn money and may not have money saved away. yes, yes, I know there are many who spent all their money on fun when they had it, but they have limited options now. I’m not advocating all the special interest advantages for them, not even most, I’m just saying they have disadvantages a 33 year old doesn’t...
So OK, raise taxes
That’s sure to generate all the revenue they need for their pensions and benefits, right?
But wait- until these retirees try to sell their homes to retire to Florida or move to a nursing home, and realize that their community has become a ghost town, most of the working class abandoned their underwater homes and failing businesses and fled to Texas, including their own children and granchildren
Unfortunately this is probably what has to happen to stop this cycle. Clean out the population, eliminate the taxpayers as they vote with feet, starve the tax eaters, then (maybe) start again
The current system allows them to retire after 20 years of service, no matter how old they are.
Something has to give. I guess they went after the biggest cost element they could find. Provided that all other sectors of the city government get the same cuts, as well as future retirees, they should agree.
We put our money in, said Walter Trembley, a 74-year-old retired police officer who drove to the meeting from his home in Lake Worth, Fla. And the city, through their callousness and everything else, just blew it.
No one anywhere funds their own pensions. A retiree usually gets far more from a pension than what they contributed. This city is just a preview of what will happen to Social Security and Medicare. Sure, people are pissed. They were promised rainbows and unicorn farts.
because when taxes inexorably go up, elderly people (over 65) can’t go out and get a better job or a second job to pay them
It’s a humane social policy that keeps a lot of seniors in their own homes instead of evicting them. Not “nonsense”
Besides, what is the “fair share” of someone age 65 and above? in my experience a major thing that drives up property taxes is muppies demanding new schools, more teachers, more parks, public rec centers.
You want em, you pay for em. Once you retire, your civic obligation to OPK (other people’s kids) is not eliminated, but is reduced. You have paid property taxes for 40 years or more.
Given this economy, the retort to seniors “then sell your house an move if you can’t afford the taxes” has become almost unfeasible in the past several years. What is the house worth? Who is buying? Where do seniors go if their kids and grandkids are close by and they cant afford to live here?? Rents are as high or higher than house expenses.
Like it or not, human body parts do start to fail when you hit 65. Is this the future?
Bum: Got any spare change, man?
Abe: Yes! And you ain't gettin' it. Everybody wants something for nothing!
[Abe walks into the social security building]
I'm old! Gimme gimme gimme!
The twenty and out fell by the wayside long ago in most retirement places. I do not know about this particular one.
The problem is that many of us live in a manner that our wages accustom us to. Many people spend what they make and do not save a lot. Even when we save we get a 1% return on our money in today’s interest rates.
The story says substantial cuts. I suppose most retired people on a Government pension could stand a 10% reduction without a lot of undue pressure,and hardship but what is substantial?
Many young people who are paying into Social Security now and are afraid they will see nobenefits are ready and willing to hose down the older pensioners. They cannot see into their future when they get hosed down.
Many of us older pensioners are supporting our kids who are out of work, borrowing from us to pay their Union dues, and house payments. Trying to help them save what they have worked for. Having them move back in with us when they cannot.
It’s easy to say screw those pensioners, they have been on the gravy train too long, but we worked for the better part of our lives we bought, we saved,we paid our tax’s and paid into the pension.
Are we willing to help in this bad situation? If we have to yes, but will we have our pensions returned to us when it is done or will we continue being taxed. That’s really what this is. A tax on pensioners.
“Bruce Ogni, a former police captain who retired six years ago on a disability pension after being injured on the job, said he might as well go on public assistance if the plan was approved.
Its just insane that this is happening in America, said Mr. Ogni, 48. How do I tell my children now that you get rewarded for doing the right thing? I did all the right things, and look how Im getting rewarded”
This guy Ogni abandoned ship at age 42. Wonder if he’s the husky dude wearing white trainers in the second row? God Bless him if he is really “disabled” but call me skeptical, having seen and heard of so many abuses of “the system”
So do you agree with a city being able to raise property taxes to the point where they force a retiree out of thier home? This came close to happening in Indiana, the property taxes were growing so fast that even those that had planned well for retirement were being forced to sell due to not being able to affored the increases. Thankfully Indiana fixed the problem.
As a conservative, I think property taxes are unconstitutional due to you never truely own your property. The government demands you to pay every year or else they take it from you.
The young workers are staring at the 15 trillion dollar debt that they didn’t run up and are saying “I should pay this why?”
This is just what will happen when soc sec and/or mc reach the end that they are oh-so-close to.
Right the spending ship now or have half the US population up in arms about “their stolen money”.
Obama and others in your government are spending it.
How many volunteers do you think they will get? Can we say “Zero”.
Property taxes are nothing but government theft. If you own the property why should you have to pay the goverment just to live there, your are nothing but a serf.
Many civil servants do in fact fund their own pensions, but only partially.
For example, a worker might contribute 6% of his weekly check to the pension fund, and the city might contribute another 6%. These are forced contributions, and are based on how the fund was set up.
I'm not saying that every civil servant fund is set up that way, but many are.
A few facts re Central Falls that the NY Times did not mention:
“In February 2010, the entire faculty and administrative staff of Central Falls High School was fired after the teachers’ union refused to accept one of the “No Child Left Behind” options (work an additional 25 minutes/day) for restructuring failing schools.....
In May 2010, the teachers were rehired when they agreed to work the extra time required.”(Wikipedia)
The city is 60% Hispanic, 7% Black and 30% White;
In the 2008 election:
82% of the city voted for Obama; 87% for Patrick Kennedy to House of Rep; 88% for Reed US Senator.
From the picture it looks like about 95% of the attendees are White, it would appear that diversity is not practiced in the City hiring.
Payback is hell.
Because the state doesn't want a bunch of old people taxed out of their homes because their earning power has stopped.
Just be patient, you'll get old one day too.
The most fiscally sound and humane thing you could do now is offer them back their own jobs (even part-time) in return for reduced pensions. Lay-off some younger workers to make room for them if necessary.
One of the stupidest things I see here in Pennsylvania is well connected 20 somethings making change on the Turnpike for wages only slightly less than what I make as a 50ish professional with an advanced degree.
Those are jobs which should be done by seniors or part-time retirees at a fraction of the cost. It is no secret around here that something like 80% or more of the turnpike tolls collected go to pay their bloated wages and benefits and 20% or less to maintain the roads.
The well-connected kids should go back to school or learn a useful trade to enhance their earning potential while they have a chance.
I think in many municipalities being "medically retired" constitutes well over 50% of all police/fire retirees every year.
A lot of these same municipalities also spend 80%-90% of their yearly budget on personnel costs. My favorite example is Montgomery County, MD. If they spend 80% of their yearly budget now, how can they ever hope to pay their retirees down the road? And that "down the road" is just around the bend.
Yep, the place is FULL of illegals. It’s a dump.
Their kids should support them in their old age, not the government.
Public workers and their unions invest in the government security pension system.
Private sector workers invest in the stock market for future retirement.
Sad to say, there is no guarantee in either investment, and it is about time for public union workers to face the fact that their unions over-promised.
Ask the people of Prichard, Alabama whose pension fund ran dry.
A very sad state of affairs, but the illusion of the government as constant provider has finally been shattered.
They didn’t pay any social security? Man, I’m going to the next meeting to sell these rubes gold making machines.
I am surprised that a town(this is not a CITY) of 19,000 would need a fulltime fire dept.
I live in a town of 13,000 and we get by just fine with a voulunteer fire dept.
They didn’t pay any social security? Man, I’m going to the next meeting to sell these rubes gold making machines.
Doesn't seem right to me.
“Most of those guys in the first few rows do not appear to be retirement-age. Do they get full pensions at 45?”
I have a sh!tload of ~ age 55 “retired” teachers and firefighters in my practice.
I’m tempted to tell them: “Don’t worry, I’ll keep working and paying taxes so you can enjoy worry free, your 30+ years of retirement.”
By God, why didn't I think of that? /s
This is just a forwarning clap of thunder previewing the coming storm of pension failures likely to be occuring in the coming years and could likely make folks mad enough to start rebelling big time.
And the beat goes on.
“In my state the elederly can NEVER have their property taxes raise EVER... they are fixed at whatever they were when they turned 65. Quirks like this for certain special groups are contributing greatly to the problem.
This is the kind of nonsense that needs to end. Why should the elderly only a fraction of what everyone else is paying in property taxes?”
OK, I’ll bite.
On the one hand, we want retirees to accept a lower level of income. They are probably going to HAVE TO accept a lower level of income. This includes ordinary (non-public-employee) retirees (who live on Social Security, perhaps with a little savings) as well.
All well and good.
But then, you expect these same people — whose income is being reduced — to pay MORE each year in property taxes?
Let me ask a simple (and admittedly stupid question) - and I’m going to say quite frankly that I don’t expect a direct answer from you in return:
Where do you suggest these older folks (many who are past being able to work again) to get the money?
In a rational world the politicians who blew these peoples retirement money would be hunted down and torn limb from limb by these pensioners.
[[Given this economy, the retort to seniors then sell your house an move if you cant afford the taxes has become almost unfeasible in the past several years. What is the house worth? Who is buying? Where do seniors go if their kids and grandkids are close by and they cant afford to live here?? Rents are as high or higher than house expenses.
Like it or not, human body parts do start to fail when you hit 65. Is this the future?]]
Excellent response to a young whippersnapper who probably believes he’s got the answer to everything. I responded, as well, in post #47.
Just look at your school district and see what they've built. Then look at school administration and see what they're paid. Then look at all the personnel in the school system who aren't actual classroom teachers. All the Vice-principals and the Assistants to the Vice-principals.
Consolidation of school administration would go a long way.