MONTANA GOVERNOR SCHWEITZER: USE NATURAL RESOURCES REVENUE TO MEET MONTANA’S PENSION DEBT.
COLORADO GOVERNOR RITTER: BREACH CONTRACTS OF ELDERLY PENSIONERS TO MEET COLORADO’S PENSION DEBT.
Governor Ritter meet your legacy . . . public pension theft.
“Ritter, Legacy . . . Legacy, Ritter.”
Let’s not forget that the signature of former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter is at the bottom of the bill that breached Colorado PERA retiree pension contracts.
Governor Ritter announced in January of 2010 that he would not seek reelection. One month later he signed the bill, SB 10-001, breaching Colorado PERA retiree contracts.
Governor Ritter announced at this January 2010 press conference, that his departure from the Governor’s Office would help make family a priority. Leaving the Governor’s Office also gave Ritter the flexibility to commute to a $300,000 job in Fort Collins . . . helping to make family a priority.
A few hours ago, it was reported in the press that Ritter may be under consideration for the post of Energy Secretary.
“Ritter told The Denver Post Tuesday he was ‘flattered’ to be among such distinguished names.”
Perhaps this job, Energy Secretary in Washington, D.C., allows one an even greater opportunity to better “make family the priority that they should be.”
Ritter’s privately funded $300,000 CSU post includes PERA retirement credit:
“Ritter cited family as the primary reason he would not seek re-election. ‘I would say it this way; I haven’t found the proper balance where my family is concerned. I’ve not made them the priority that they should be. So, today I’m announcing the ending of one of my roles. I’m no longer going to be a candidate for re-election in 2010,’ Ritter said.”
Former Senator Josh Penry on Ritter:
“As with so many things for he and I, that meeting was a mixed bag. I got a dry-cleaning bill, but we agreed that we would work together on a plan to cut public-pension benefits, which we accomplished in his and my last session.”
In any event, I’m not sure that Ritter is suited to hold any public office at this point:
“There is no moral exemption for any man or body of men that breaks contracts. Nor is there any hope of public or private respect for a contract breaker. A contract breaker is an utter misfit as a citizen or a business man.”
-Franklin MacVeagh, former President of the Commercial Club of Chicago and U.S. Secretary of Treasury.
Now, off of my soapbox and to consideration of Montana Governor Schweitzer’s pension reform proposal:
“Working with the retirement systems directors and union representatives, the governor has proposed solutions that include increasing employee and employer contributions, authorizing a one-time transfer of surpluses from school districts to the system, and appropriating $25 million a year from state trust land revenues until the system is sound again. To balance the public employees system, he proposes appropriating non-dedicated revenue from coal severance taxes and $3 million of Coal Severance Tax Permanent Fund interest, and requests a supplemental local government contribution.”
(My comment: I consider the use of state revenues derived from natural resource extraction yet another “less drastic” alternative to the Colorado General Assembly’s breach of PERA retiree public pension contracts.)
“‘We are generating record revenue from our state lands by developing our natural resources including coal, oil, gas, grazing, and timber sales. It makes sense to use the record revenues to pay off our liabilities,’ said Governor Schweitzer.”
“‘Just like paying your mortgage, it is an incremental solution that will make our pension systems whole.”
“The legislation will address both the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) by increasing the contribution from both employers and employees by 1% in addition to funding from natural resource development on state lands and contributions from both state and local governments.”
No COLA-Theft in Montana.
“Schweitzer proposes separate rescue plans for the two retirement systems.”
“In the case of the Teacher Retirement System, he would divert $25 million per year from State Lands revenue that is dedicated by law to benefiting education. He would also increase the employee contribution by 1 percent, raising $8.5 million per year, and would add a one-time-only $14.7 million employer contribution.”
“For the Public Employees Retirement System, Schweitzer proposes that employers and employees each contribute an additional 1 percent to the retirement plans, raising $13.7 million per year from each source, and the state would contribute an additional $18.1 million per year from coal-tax severance funds. There would be an additional local government contribution as well, which for Flathead County would amount to an additional $158,451 out of current spending of $78 million.”