Thursday, January 07, 2010

RH Jones: Rebuttal to Dispatch editorial

From RH Jones, January 7, 2010
Subject: A rebuttal of the Jan. 7, 2010 Columbus Dispatch editorial slams Ohio public service employees, retirees and their retirement systems
To the Columbus Dispatch, John Curry and all:
The Columbus Dispatch must be getting desperate to gain readership; when, in fact, they may be causing a loss in readership. The negativism against Ohio's public service system retirees, and especially due to its unfounded and severe attack on the defined benefit plan, may be causing many retired public servants to stop reading a newspaper that inaccurately puts a successful long term public retirement systems in jeopardy. A reasonable person would expect many will now cancel their subscriptions, and will refrain from purchasing the newspaper --some already have.
And to mention a tax payer revolt is totally irresponsible. That would bring about calamity in the state. Can anyone imagine no teachers in the classrooms, no police/firefighters, public health workers, road crews, water/sewer workers, etc. etc, not on the job?
Retired public servants pay taxes too. And their monthly checks are overwhelmingly spent in Ohio, as is pension their health care. Cutting any of the moderate benefits such as the only partial health care/Rx, or the non-compounding 3% COLA , will impact all the private -- and, yes, even public sector jobs -- created by all their spending. Without the economic "smoothing" of defined benefits being spent in Ohio's economy, the state would experience even more "ups and downs". The defined contribution plan would do that as well. Market fluctuations in Ohio would be even more severe than they are now.
Rather than even considering cutting into public pensions, If anything, the Dispatch should be encouraging a state income tax break for public servants. This could bring in an immediate "shot-in-the-arm" to the state economy that would bring on more private sector jobs and business. States that have already done that have even had a larger percentage of public sector retirees spending, staying, and living here in their states. After all, they would then be paying sales, property taxes, and even hidden taxes such as car license plates, drivers license fees, and so forth. If Ohio did not tax pensions, yes, even then, more would die and be buried here, and their relatives would be even spending on newspaper obituaries, thusly creating Dispatch income. That is terrible to say but it is the truth.
Please, Dispatch, attacking defined benefits of public servants helps no one, not the public or, especially businesses that depend on the steady profits and the jobs that are created in the public sector for the private sector. Pension envy has never benefited anyone. To each other, public servants and the private sector are too mutually beneficial. Therefore, for the Dispatch to even mention a tax revolt is a revolting idea.
That is my opinion,
Robert H. Jones, a professional retired public school teacher STRS member
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
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