Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Tom Curtis: Letter to Representative Wachtmann

From Tom Curtis, January 6, 2010
Subject: 010610 Rep Lynn Wachtmann, Re State Pension Issues

Hello Representative Wachtmann,
I am a retired educator (1998) and have been very actively involved in attempting to bring about reform at the STRS, beginning in February 2003. Representing STRS retirees, I spoke before you and the rest of the committee when SB133 was signed into law in 2004.
In my opinion, there is much needed reform concerning the mismanagement and misspending that has helped to increase the STRS unfunded liability to where it is today, infinity. I have yet to see any negative comments by you or anyone else on the ORSC concerning the gross misspending and mismanagement at the STRS during the last decade, and I know you have been made aware of such.
Over the past few days, I have been reading all of the very negative articles being written across the state about the 5 pension systems. Though there is much concern to go around, there are many favorable issues the neither you or the media chose to present. I will address one at this time. You seemingly are not aware of this and attack the system for being overly gracious.
Again, many statements in the newspaper articles and those coming from you personally would lead one to believe that pension costs have continually risen, and that is simply not the case for educators. This is a point that none of the newspapers and you have been willing to report to the taxpayer.
The educator pension contribution made by the 600+ schools in Ohio is currently at 14% and has not changed since 1984.
The only increases in STRS pension amounts since 1984 has been those increases made by the educators themselves. The last increase educators were asked to make was in 2003. The educator contribution rose from 9.3% to 10%, which is the current cap. Those increases had nothing to do with what the taxpayer is forced to contribute, though your comments would seemingly indicate otherwise.
Rep. Wachtmann, I hope you will verify my information by viewing the ORSC Website, because once you do, you will realize that educators have not seen an increase in pension spending to the taxpayer for over 25 years, so I find some of your comments to be way out of perspective.
Don't you think the taxpayers should know both sides of this information? Considering that Ohio taxpayer's have not seen an increase in cost for STRS pensions since 1984, I would think the taxpayer would be very appreciative for us holding the line for such a long period of time. Pension envy is like comparing, as they say, apples and oranges. Yet, you seem to place them all in one basket. That is not right!
A reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your consideration.
Thomas Curtis
N. Canton, OH
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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