New York Democrats and their public sector union cronies hector us relentlessly, screeching “the rich”* should pay their “fair share.”**
‘Puter sat down and did himself some thinking on the topic. ‘Puter decided he hates hypocrites, and that he hates New York unionized public sector employee hypocrites more. So ‘Puter developed a simple two pronged plan to make sure every New York public sector employee pays his fair share.
First, repeal in its entirety the Retirement Credit for Union Officers on Leave of Absence Act of 1984 (see page 168 of linked booklet).*** Under this statute, teachers union officers can take leaves of absence (which seems to include release time) to work on union business provided it’s negotiated in a contract. Such employees receive full pay and full health and pension benefits. Unions are supposed to repay the school district the full cost of any such employee’s salary and benefits.
‘Puter has asked, but has never received a satisfactory answer as to whether his local school district charges back the union the full cost of the local union president’s release time at his full rate including pension and benefits costs.
If a teacher wants to be a part-time teacher and part-time union leader, by all means, let her do so. However, taxpayers should not be paying part-time teachers full time salary, full time health insurance benefits and full time pension benefits for work done for another employer, even if such other employer reimburses a school district in full.
‘Puter wonders in his artless Japanese way how many public sector unions are reporting income earned from two different employers, the school district and the union. Sure, the school district agrees to flow through salary and benefits to the teacher/union officer, but the school district is actually only the employer when the teacher is teaching.
Regardless, it is fundamentally unjust for public school teachers to accrue public pension benefits for time spent not in the classroom or helping kids, but spent in service of a private entity dedicated to concocting rules that harm children and fleece taxpayers. There is no rational basis for permitting a school teacher to work a part time job during school hours for a private employer. There is less of a basis for permitting such a teacher to accrue pension benefits in service to a private employer, his union.
If New York is dedicated to the notion private sector employees should receive public pension benefits, ‘Puter’s happy to join up for his big, fat pension. There’s no difference between allowing union employees to accrue public pension benefits and allowing Wall Street hedge fund multi-millionaires to accrue public pension benefits. Both union employees and hedge fund employees are serving private employers, not the public, and certainly not the children.
Second, repeal the exemption from state income tax on pension distributions to teachers (currently, tax rates are around 6.85% for a teacher rocking a full 30 year pension benefit). Why should teachers’ pensions be treated any differently than ‘Puter’s 401k distributions?
‘Puter must pay full state and federal income taxes on any distributions taken from his 401k. Yet ‘Puter’s wife gets a nearly seven percent kicker to her pension benefit funded by private sector retirees and current workers.
Keep in mind New York State Teachers Retirement System members in Tiers I and II paid nothing toward their pension. Those in Tiers III and IV pay in three percent of their salary for 10 years. Note, however, that the 10 years requirement is 10 years of membership only, not 10 years of payment. If, like Mrs. ‘Puter and many female teachers, you take unpaid leaves of absence to have and raise kids, you can pay for substantially less time. Mrs. ‘Puter paid in for only three years and met her obligation.
As a reminder, NYSTRS Tier IV members can get a full pension benefit of 60% of the average of their best three consecutive years of salary (including add-ons like coaching, club monitoring, etc.) for life. NYSTRS Tier IV members can collect this full benefit after 30 years of credited service and attaining the age of 62. They can get a reduced but still significant benefit pretty much any time after 20 years in service. ****
Unlike teachers, private sector employees must put aside substantially more than three percent of their salaries over the entirety of their working lives, not for 10 or fewer years, in order to have a decent retirement income.*****
Retired teachers are citizens of New York. Retired teachers receive the benefits of living in New York. Retired teachers should share the burden of providing those benefits, just as all other retirees in New York must. In fact, it’s increasingly clear to ‘Puter that the only retirees who can afford to stay in New York after retirement are state employees, thanks in no small part to their untaxed, overly generous pensions.
Teachers and all New York state and municipal employees should pay their fair share before they start lecturing the private sector.
* “The rich” is loosely defined as “anyone who makes more money than your average public sector union employee.”
** “Their fair share” is clearly defined as “as much as it takes so that (a) no unionized employee ever gets laid off and (b) no gold-plated union health and retirement benefits are ever diminished.” Like social justice, “fair share” calculus only considers benefits to the unionized employees, not costs to the taxpayer. Public sector unions don’t care if “fair share” bankrupts you or the state.
*** New York’s legislature helpfully squirreled away this beauty of a law not in the Education Law with the bulk of teachers’ retirement system statutes, but in the Unconsolidated Laws, making it nearly impossible to find. ‘Puter’s certain there’s no intent by New York’s deep blue legislature to hide a sweetheart deal for a public sector union that annual recycles tens of millions of dollars into Democrat campaign coffers.
**** Assuming you retire with a best three consecutive years average salary of $90,000.00 (not unthinkable under current salary scales), you’d get an annual benefit of $54,000.00. This calculation counts neither the value of the eternal, low cost, gold plated health insurance for retirees, nor the effect of the state income tax exemption. Last year, Mrs. ‘Puter’s school district paid over $16,000.00 for her (and ‘Puter’s) health insurance. Add in the 6.85% tax exemption benefit and you’re looking at a very generous annual benefit of at least $73,500.00. And don’t forget the pension benefit is indexed for inflation. NYSTRS members also paid into and are thus eligible for Social Security. Mrs. ‘Puter’s school district also has a 403b plan, similar to the private sector’s 401k plan, which Mrs. ‘Puter maxes out each year.
***** Note that NYSTRS members in Tiers V and VI pay contributions over their entire career, but currently this affects very few teachers, only those entering the retirement system on or after January 1, 2010.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.