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Old 05-05-2013, 06:36 PM
 
Location: the illegal immigrant state
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San Jose Mercury News

Quote:
Last fall, she helped lead successful labor efforts to pass two ballot measures, one that increased San Jose's minimum wage, and another that hiked the county sales tax to pay for health, safety and social services.
Insane, though no surprise that a democrat considers a tax increase to be an accomplishment.

Nothing is enough for them.
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:53 PM
 
Location: Planet Earth
1,963 posts, read 2,605,773 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjnative View Post
San Jose Mercury News



Insane, though no surprise that a democrat considers a tax increase to be an accomplishment.

Nothing is enough for them.
From the above-linked article : Of all the candidates running to succeed disgraced former Santa Clara County Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr., none triggers a more visceral reaction than Cindy Chavez.

Well, the Merc certainly seems to have gotten that right, based on the previous poster's comments ...
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:17 PM
 
Location: Boulder Creek, CA
9,197 posts, read 15,335,755 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjnative View Post
San Jose Mercury News



Insane, though no surprise that a democrat considers a tax increase to be an accomplishment.

Nothing is enough for them.

While the details may be debatable and Cindy is surely in the unions' pockets, funding public health, safety, and social services doesn't sound like the most awful use of taxes. Shall we do away with these instead?
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:19 AM
 
29,549 posts, read 32,569,491 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdumbgod View Post
While the details may be debatable and Cindy is surely in the unions' pockets, funding public health, safety, and social services doesn't sound like the most awful use of taxes. Shall we do away with these instead?
The problem is, so much of that funding (indirectly) goes into the employee pension fund.

I work for the City of SJ and made 45.5K in 2012. On top of my salary, the City of SJ paid 23.8K toward my pension (not including the additional smaller portion the employee pays). I don't want my pension cut or eliminated, but anyone willing to use their brain knows that this is not sustainable. To make matters worse, what police & firefighters get makes what other rank & file civil servants receive look like a pittance.

It's a similar story at the County, I'm sure. Someone with deep union ties like Chavez isn't going to fight for the tough pension reforms that are necessary. I mean, is anyone really going to say we need to increase taxes to keep the pension fund solvent? Ehh, somehow I doubt that. Instead, they'll say we need more taxes to fund "public health, safety, and social services".
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Old 05-11-2013, 09:08 AM
 
49 posts, read 82,336 times
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Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
I work for the City of SJ and made 45.5K in 2012. On top of my salary, the City of SJ paid 23.8K toward my pension
Thank you for your service. I have a question: does the pension have anything to do with why you are working for the city for $45.5k? If they did away with the pension, would you stick around or go to the private sector? What about others you work with?
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Generaltao View Post
Thank you for your service. I have a question: does the pension have anything to do with why you are working for the city for $45.5k? If they did away with the pension, would you stick around or go to the private sector? What about others you work with?
You're welcome .

If they did away with the pension, I'm not sure I would leave, at least not right away. But that probably has more to do with the fact that there's a high cost to changing careers (which is what I would probably have to do) in terms of both time and money....but it would certainly make me reevaluate my situation, for sure. As for others, I think it all depends on their personal situation. Rumor has it that the City has had a tough job recruiting for higher level jobs because of the high employee pension contribution rates and pay that doesn't make up for that. Just as one example, I know it took the City over one year to find a new library director, supposedly because of the pay/benefits issue.

By the way, they wouldn't be able to completely do away with the pension immediately. They'd have to honor however many years of service you've already put in, but they could freeze it going forward. For a situation like this, the devil would be in the details. If they froze the pension but would be able to give better pay raises, then it might still be worth continuing. As it stands we've had our pay cut and had to put more into the pension fund at the same time to keep it solvent. It sorta feels like throwing money into a bottomless pit.

I think the younger folks already know they're getting screwed so they don't have the same level of expectation as the older folks do....plus younger people just generally don't think about stuff like retirement (unfortunately).
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:16 AM
 
49 posts, read 82,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
I think the younger folks already know they're getting screwed so they don't have the same level of expectation as the older folks do....plus younger people just generally don't think about stuff like retirement (unfortunately).
I think you're right about that. But if they did think more about their retirement, wouldn't they in fact choose jobs that might offer lower salaries but better long-term security in the form of a pension? I'm just curious.

I'm not the whipper-snapper I once was, but I'm still in the "invincible" stage of my career where most of my brain is fairly convinced that I can fend for myself forever and things will work out somehow when I'm old. Especially after watching so many people who did it "right" by sticking to a job, building up a pension, get screwed out of those pensions by greedy people and get labeled as "entitled freeloaders" by the masses. Seems like it's dog eat dog and I better get mine while the gettin's good.

So I admire the city for taking its pension commitments seriously, even though I wish public employees were getting better salaries. (By the way, I know a lot of people who are pretty adamant that Public employees are rolling in tax payer dollars for almost no work.)

Peace
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:54 PM
 
Location: the illegal immigrant state
765 posts, read 1,593,748 times
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Regarding public employee pensions, my understand is many people reason like so:
1: the only way to attract the best public employees is to give them large pensions
2: if you don't give them good pensions, we will either (1) not be able to fill those positions or (2) be served by mediocre and undermotiveated public employees
C: We don't want to be unserved or underserved, so we need to give public employees large pensions

This seems like alarmism to me.

I personally think that as long as there's a public sector position, someone will fill it, esp given that so many of those jobs offer short commutes. For instance, most Santa Clara County administrative offices and CSJ offices are located in or near downtown San Jose and since the bulk of the Silicon Valley's housing and therefore the bulk of its citizens live in San Jose, those very people would live close to work. That's a lot more than can be said for those private sector workers doing the brutal commte from San Jose to Mountain View and Palo Alto everyday.

Also, I doubt both that we already have the best and the brightest doing those jobs and that we would suffer much if any detriment if those jobs paid less or offered less of a pension than they do now. Would there really be a change in the quality or responsiveness of service if all those public sector positions changed hands over the next several years? I'm not saying there wouldn't be, but I'm casting doubt on any instantaneous answer that there would be.

I rhetorically ask again- do we have the best and brightest doing those jobs? Do we need the best and brightest?

I think we're getting less than what we're paying for- especially given that so much of what we pay is funding the large and inflation-adjusted pensions of retired public employees who themselves may or may not have been the best or brightest and who may or may not have given exemplary service.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:37 PM
 
29,549 posts, read 32,569,491 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Generaltao View Post
I think you're right about that. But if they did think more about their retirement, wouldn't they in fact choose jobs that might offer lower salaries but better long-term security in the form of a pension? I'm just curious.
It depends on the person. Who really knows if the pension will be there at retirement time? Because pension benefits are dependent on a formula that's based on the highest year's salary, the pensions have effectively already been rolled back because of the pay cuts 1.5 years ago. This is before the official pension reforms for SJ go into effect (still being reviewed in court). So who's to say pension benefits can't be rolled back (again) or frozen in the future. I would never in a million years tell a young person to go work somewhere because of the pension plan. That kind of thinking is completely outdated and I think most young people know it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generaltao View Post
I'm not the whipper-snapper I once was, but I'm still in the "invincible" stage of my career where most of my brain is fairly convinced that I can fend for myself forever and things will work out somehow when I'm old.
Ehh. Let me tell you how things often work out. People lose their good paying jobs in their 50s that they expected to have until their mid 60s. Most people don't save adequately for retirement so they are caught flat footed when they realize they're most likely not going to get a job that paid as well as the one they just lost. Then they are forced with major lifestyle downgrades in late middle age so that they avoid complete poverty in old age. I've seen this scenario play out this way a LOT with people I know and stuff I read in the papers. I'm hoping you're not thinking you'll be the exception.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generaltao View Post
Especially after watching so many people who did it "right" by sticking to a job, building up a pension, get screwed out of those pensions by greedy people and get labeled as "entitled freeloaders" by the masses. Seems like it's dog eat dog and I better get mine while the gettin's good.
Yes, it is dog eat dog and we should not kid ourselves otherwise. You don't have to like it, but it's reality. As far as doing it "right". I don't think counting on your employer to fully fund your retirement is doing it "right" or ever was. How do you know you'll work for the same employer for 30 or more years? Even in the best of economic circumstances, things can happen (people need to move, people get sick, people change employers, etc.) Life happens....It was never smart to just count on one employer to do it all. I've always tried to save as if I was never going to get a pension. That means putting away a minimum of 10% for retirement year in and year out....and 15% is probably the more realistic number for most people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Generaltao View Post
So I admire the city for taking its pension commitments seriously, even though I wish public employees were getting better salaries. (By the way, I know a lot of people who are pretty adamant that Public employees are rolling in tax payer dollars for almost no work.)
Well, I certainly don't think it's true that Public employees are doing almost no work. There's always room for improvement, but on the whole, SJ (and I suspect it's the same with the County) does a decent job with a pretty lean workforce and this has been true for quite some time. But public employees also have to start admitting that getting pensions that pay out up to 75% of your highest year's salary as early as age 55 is not realistic. The benefit for police and firefighters is 90% as early as age 50 (although as I said, the rollback is being reviewed by the courts...new employees will have a higher retirement age for sure...existing employees will have to put a high % of their salaries toward the pension fund, currently at 13%...but it will go higher). I have said before in other threads that people just do not understand the math behind pensions. They just have no clue as to how much the cost can spike very quickly even if you are just maintaining existing benefit levels, especially when we have a stock market crash like we did in 2008...The pension funds are still feeling the effects of that even though the market has recovered.

We desperately need financial education in the schools. Even a lot of smart, college educated folks really have no clue about this kind of stuff.

Last edited by mysticaltyger; 05-15-2013 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:47 PM
 
29,549 posts, read 32,569,491 times
Reputation: 31426
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjnative View Post
Regarding public employee pensions, my understand is many people reason like so:
1: the only way to attract the best public employees is to give them large pensions
2: if you don't give them good pensions, we will either (1) not be able to fill those positions or (2) be served by mediocre and undermotiveated public employees
C: We don't want to be unserved or underserved, so we need to give public employees large pensions

This seems like alarmism to me.

I personally think that as long as there's a public sector position, someone will fill it, esp given that so many of those jobs offer short commutes. For instance, most Santa Clara County administrative offices and CSJ offices are located in or near downtown San Jose and since the bulk of the Silicon Valley's housing and therefore the bulk of its citizens live in San Jose, those very people would live close to work. That's a lot more than can be said for those private sector workers doing the brutal commte from San Jose to Mountain View and Palo Alto everyday.

Also, I doubt both that we already have the best and the brightest doing those jobs and that we would suffer much if any detriment if those jobs paid less or offered less of a pension than they do now. Would there really be a change in the quality or responsiveness of service if all those public sector positions changed hands over the next several years? I'm not saying there wouldn't be, but I'm casting doubt on any instantaneous answer that there would be.

I rhetorically ask again- do we have the best and brightest doing those jobs? Do we need the best and brightest?

I think we're getting less than what we're paying for- especially given that so much of what we pay is funding the large and inflation-adjusted pensions of retired public employees who themselves may or may not have been the best or brightest and who may or may not have given exemplary service.
Your assessment is mostly correct. I will say that there have been some issues in San Jose in attracting folks at the higher echelons of management because of the salary/benefits issue.

If San Jose and other municipalities in CA hadn't granted more generous pension benefits around 2000-2001 the pension funds would be in much better shape now and most likely there would have been no need for SJ to roll them back...or at least the rollback could be a lot less drastic.

Last edited by mysticaltyger; 05-15-2013 at 11:55 PM..
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