to the editor from this week's Chronicle:
To the Editor
By Representative Roberts’s comments in the Lewiston Morning Tribune PERSI (Public Employee’s Retirement System of Idaho) will be under attack again. I asked Mr. Roberts 10 years ago what he could do to recover money being taken from school district employees. A threatened strike by some teachers won them a small percentage of what they were actually due. Some agencies did it right saying, “it’s theirs they should receive it in a 401K account, as stated by law”. My department used the money to pay the States contribution to me with mine for the better part of a year! What a deal for the State, using a promised contribution from the State to employees. I’m not sure even Jimmy Hoffa could figure that scheme!
Mr. Roberts’s response then and now, nothing! Recently I asked what of the rumors that the state is going to change PERSI. His response, “I know nothing about this but I will investigate and get right back to you Dan”, nothing yet! Now we read he knows quite a bit, and justifies his position. He says Idaho shouldn’t be responsible, the investor should be? Gee! President Bush sure did well with that idea of dismantling Social Security. Mr. Roberts fails to mention the first taking by the State and the loss to the PERSI account. When the first taking of employees’ money was done PERSI was operating at about 112% of solvency. After Mr. Roberts and his crew of legislators were done, PERSI was operating at about 85% percent of solvency, taking this money on the eve of an economic down turn, the fund fell almost 27%!
Mr. Roberts says PERSI’s worth now is 11.1 billion dollars and is 1.4 billion short of solvency. That’s about 13 % short of Solvency, that’s what the State took the first time. 13% short of 100% of efficiency is not acceptable to Mr. Roberts, yet he doesn’t mention the 13% taking by the state of the fund over ten years ago. Considering the worth of the dollar today versus 10 years ago and two huge economic down turns and being only 13% down now, I think PERSI has done wonderfully! PERSI expects to recover from this first theft in three to five years and, by law, the State can dip its hands in again! Ever figure out what happened to social security?
Considering the suffering to our students and schools, considering what benefitted you Mr. Roberts by allowing agricultural ground to be sold as a tax shelter for investors; retiree’s not receiving proper cola’s. Please Mr. Roberts don’t do public employees or your average voters and their children any more favors.
Public employees work by the Republics rules; Democracy & schemes work by different rules; by those in power, or special interests, or money; that will be our downfall. Senator Dean Cameron of Rupert had some very wise words for the legislature. He stated the State has more to worry about then this matter, leave it alone. I would have liked him to say; this is an agreed trust to public servants and needs be honored. The State should govern PERSI base on performance with factual numbers, not Mr. Roberts’s fuzzy math.
Funny how the Governor always states the biggest asset to State Government is its employees! As a public servant I know why now, to balance the budget upon!!
Dan Davis, Cascade Idaho