Not long ago our benevolent North Carolina state legislators offered “premium-free” medical insurance, including supplemental coverage for Medicare recipients, to all state employees who had worked for only five years before retiring. Thanks to Rep. Dale Folwell from Winston-Salem, legislation now requires 20-years in the system before one can retire with this perk. But there’s a big lurking problem: our political Heroes didn’t pay for any of it.
Francis X. Gilpin of The Fayetteville Observer reports that the “unfunded liability” amounts to nearly $33 billion. “Our retiree health plan is totally unfunded,” according to Robert L. Clark at NC State.
Joe Coletti of the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh figures this to be “about $3,500 from every man, woman and child in North Carolina.” Coletti calls this irresponsible behavior: “Absolutely insane.” Yes, but who believes that most of the previous inmates at the General Assembly asylum were sane?
With nearly 200,000 state retirees and their dependents—many retiring in their 50s— what’s left of the productive workforce in the state will have to work longer to pay the “legacy” of their free medical insurance—not to mention state retiree pensions.
But, hey, so what. The Heroes will probably kick that can down the road. Future legislatures and taxpayers will pick it up. The immediate problem is how to come up with at least $3 billion to cover the budget deficit this year.
Should we feel sorry for our political Heroes when they must make “tough decisions” to correct previous bad decisions? Actually, no. Whatever they do is unlikely to hurt their careers, fortunes or reputations because they have the message and the mechanism to pass the buck to us—“It’s not our fault, but we’ll have to have more revenue.”Read full article » No Comments »
Councilwoman Laura Padgett. . . I couldn’t have written these lines any better than the StarNews did.
California in July. Texas in August. Seattle in September. Denver and Panama in December.
Laura Padgett is becoming quite the frequent flyer.
Hopping from conference to conference, the councilwoman nearly gobbled up all of the city’s excess funds for members’ travel with five months still left in this fiscal year.
As of early December, Padgett had spent $5,400 and counting for travel, well above her allotted $1,750 for the year.
The council’s travel budget is $19,000, with each member getting the same amount, except the mayor who gets $2,500. The council had $6,000 in two overflow accounts but Padgett – with a little help from Councilman Ronald Sparks – has bled that pool dry.
In the true fashion of “let them eat cake” the council has turned a deaf ear to the difficulties that taxpayer face. Wasteful spending, a pie in the Skyway bridge, unaccountable donations for sailor entertainment, and even an idea to raise taxes on downtown businesses for additional law enforcement, but Padgett could seemingly care less.
$5,400 dollars in her travel alone, that’s just inexcusable, wasteful and irresponsible. Luckily, taxpayers will have a say in November. The city deserves better leadership.Read full article » No Comments »
North Carolina gas prices are heading towards the $4/gal mark. It’s still somewhat cheaper than bottled water, but hey, who cares right? A gallon is 41 cents higher per gallon now than it was one year ago today and 16.4 cents higher than a month ago. In a struggling economy, this isn’t good news.
Worth noting are the taxes here in NC on a gallon of gas. As of April, 2010, gas taxes totaled 48.6 cents per gallon. That is the second highest tax in the ENTIRE southeast from Texas to Virginia. Only Florida was higher.
It is confusing because part of the tax is a straight up tax and the rest is based on the wholesale price of gas done every six months. That last part should make the tax go up substantially soon.Read full article » No Comments »
Death and destruction are not laughing matters, but sometimes the media coverage just amazes me. Case and point, the fact that 2010 was absolutely catastrophic with respect to environmental mayhem. From Breitbart:
The Haiti earthquake and floods in Pakistan and China helped make 2010 an exceptional year for natural disasters, killing 295,000 and costing $130 billion, the world’s top reinsurer said Monday. “The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures both globally and in different regions of the world provide further indications of advancing climate change,” said Munich Re in a report.
Hmm. . 295,000 folks dying in disasters is the result of climate change? But wait. . .
The earthquake in Haiti in January was by far the worst disaster in terms of human cost, killing 222,570 people, Munich Re said.
So, of the 295,000, MOST of them died in an earthquake that had NOTHING to do with climate change. Also, no major hurricanes in the US and if you removed the Hatian incident, then 2010 was BELOW the average of 77,000 disaster deaths annually. The statement that appeared in the story about “weather related deaths” is simply not true, but contributes to the public perception that climate was responsible for the majority of those deaths.Read full article » No Comments »