With the election coming, public employees and retirees need to be aware of what the candidates know and how they would vote on PERA issues. During the last legislative session, seven bills as well as three initiatives were introduced. If passed, they would have weakened and/or eliminated our retirement package that we are paying for as we do our job.
The sponsors would have us believe that PERA should be reformed, effectively ignoring the comprehensive legislation enacted in 2010 that returned PERA to long-term sustainability. Their efforts would weaken and eventually dismantle a system that has worked for over 80 years. Contrary to their arguments, PERA has never been and never will be a burden to the Colorado taxpayer. When a public job is required, a public employee is hired to do it, and a shared contribution to that employees retirement is enacted.
PERA payments are a critical source of reliable, predictable income and provide an automatic economic stabilizing effect on state, regional and local economies, especially in economic downturns as these monies provide important stimulus in market activity. When a household receives PERA benefit payments, it represents an infusion of income into the local economy that creates a chain of economic activities whose total impact is greater than the initial benefit payments.
The question that every candidate should have to answer to get our vote is, why weaken and eventually eliminate an economic stabilizer that is vital to every business in the state, generates $230 million in tax revenue, and creates more than 23,000 jobs?
Colorado School & Public Employees