The Tribune has completely bought into the miserly and mean focus on how awful it is to pay pensions. What do you expect people to do who have worked hard and now are elderly?
I am a teacher, and in spite of editorials from The New York Times about how much state employees have benefited from raises, I have exactly the same dollars and cents income that I have had for the past four years.
This means that my income has been dropping when inflation is considered (New York spends about 40 percent more on the education of each child than California, so data from New York may not apply here in the Golden State).
Last month, I put $1,352.98 into my teach-er’s pension. That is the monthly amount deducted. Teachers contribute heavily to their own pensions through the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS). Don’t think this is a free ride from taxpayers, far from it!
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Also, since Ronald Reagan was governor, teachers have been left out of Social Security. We do not have Social Security taken from our checks, and even when, in my case, I qualify for Social Security from work (this occurred when I was not a teacher), I will receive only a fraction of the benefit I qualify for, precisely because I have been a teacher. This is inherently unfair.
I would like The Tribune to run some articles on how much of our tax money goes toward war and weapons. More than half of our federal tax money goes toward destruction and killing.
In January alone, I paid $1,061.85 in federal and state taxes. I want my money to go for education, the environment, parks and pensions for public servants who have worked hard, not war and weapons and destruction and killing.
By the way, I paid more taxes in one month than many gigantic corporations paid in taxes for the whole year, but that is another issue.
Let’s not target our fellow workers in economically strained times. Maybe we workers and middle class folks should stick together and continue to create a society where all people can earn a living wage and live with some level of security.
Adrienne Dickinson has been a special education teacher at Arroyo Grande High School for nine years and was a trustee of the San Luis Coastal Unified School District for four years.