Here I am once again writing about my state employment. Since Gov. Bobby Jindal’s retirement proposals affect a limited number of Louisiana residents, those unaffected seemingly don’t care what happens. I’m going to tell you why you should:
The proposals have been deemed unconstitutional by Strasburger & Price law firm in Dallas, the firm hired by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera to evaluate the bills.
If government is allowed to blatantly ignore the Louisiana Constitution now, eventually it will pass a bill that adversely affects someone else.
In the immediate local area, changes could force large numbers of workers at Chabert Medical Center to take early retirement in order to secure benefits already in the system — myself one of them.
Since Chabert already has endured layoffs of at least 100 people and closure of its labor and delivery services, neonatal intensive care unit and nursery in recent weeks, further loss of experienced staff could adversely affect care, wait times and available services for the thousands who seek medical treatment there (in my opinion).
Passage of unconstitutional bills will lead to litigation, causing further depletion of state funds that would be better spent paying down the state’s unfunded accrued liability, the monies the state has failed to pay into the retirement systems as mandated by the contracts between the state and its employees.
The state has four statewide retirement systems. These bills affect primarily one system. The proposed increase in employee contributions would be felt by those in the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System and some others.
For those of you unaware, you should know state employees make a substantial amount less than those who choose to work in the private sector.
We haven’t had raises in three years and aren’t expecting one this year, either.
We choose to work there for many reasons.
I chose to work there because I enjoy the teaching environment, the sense of family among co-workers, being able to contribute my service to the people who live in my own community and many other reasons, but the retirement plan was also a sticking point, the benefit I worked toward for the past 26 years.
Please contact our legislators and tell them you don’t support these bills: SB749, SB52, SB47, SB740 and SB25.
As a state employee who has willingly served my community for 26 years, I ask that you get involved, our voices are the voices of the future. Let the government know that you care, even if it doesn’t.
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