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Old 02-19-2011, 02:38 PM   #15
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I certainly understand what you are saying about changing the rules after the game has been played, but let me give you a slightly different twist on what could happen. If pensions remain untaxed it may force the state into either a bankrupt situation or one where the pensions just simply go unpaid. Where would that leave pensioners? Most states are in dire financial times due to over zealous giveaways and programs that they could not afford. Now everyone must suffer for the sins of the past. Is it pleasant? No, but it is probably necessary.

Part of the argument here is vote the bums out. Well, that is certainly an option, but how did things get out of control in the first place? Mostly past administrations spent more than they had coming in with the idea that more would come in later and let's postpone paying for this until later. I think later is now.

Years ago I had a client who inherited a great business. Shortly after he took over he started to bleed the business by taking out way more than the business could afford. I warned him that he had to stop taking out more than was coming in. His comment back was "I have to have this much to live on." As you can well guess, the business went down and finally folded. I have no idea what he is living on now, but it is way less than it was. Given the choices between no pensions or pensions that are taxable would seem to me to be a fairly simple choice.
Let me say this about that. When a contract is negotiated there is a finite amount of money allocated, the issue then becomes what of the funds will go to wages what will go to pension and what will go to health care and other benefits. If you take less in wages to put more in pension you are most definitely contributing to your pension through lower wages. Believe me that is how union contracts are negotiated.
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Old 02-19-2011, 02:53 PM   #16
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Yea, but you don't know how it is going to be taxed when it comes out. That's up to where you live.
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:03 PM   #17
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That's fine about how union contracts are negotiated. That is how they were negotiated in the steel industry. Oh, that's now gone. They were negotiated that way in the railroad industry. Oh, that's now gone. The auto industry came perilously close to following in the same pattern. My point is that if you think that taxing pensions is unfair then be aware that those taxes help to pay for those pensions. If there is not enough tax revenue then pensions can't be paid. You can kill the golden goose real quickly with short sighted views. A simple question is would you rather have some of the pension taxed or no pension at all?
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Old 02-19-2011, 03:47 PM   #18
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A lot of apples and oranges thrown about here.

Several times we did not get a pay raise, but the money went into health and dental insurance while we were working.

Currently our pensions are taxed federally.

wnytaxman I get what you are saying. My older brother worked for US Steel in McKeesport, PA. Every five years he received 13 weeks paid vacation. This in addition to his every year vacation. However, US Steel had a say so in this matter.
McKeesport went from boom town to bust. So sad.

Kerry
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Old 02-19-2011, 07:38 PM   #19
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Hi wa8yxm,
So you have no problem with the main point of my post?
No, but I did have to re-read your post to figure that out.

Turns out we are in agreement Gary, Sorry if it sounds otherwise.

As you said, the problem is he's changing the rules for people who (other than working for his de-election) can not do anything about it.

We agree it seems, this is wrong.

Of course if he gives me a 4% raise to go with the 4% tax... another story (Trust me this will NOT happen)
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:08 PM   #20
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Tighten your seat belts kids - the roughest and inevitable part of the ride has yet to come - but COME it will - and very few of us will escape it!
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:00 AM   #21
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Gary's point is well taken. This is just the first step in what will become a major change in the way government functions. In the past the civil service unions and, in our case here in NY, the teachers' unions controlled the state. Now reality has sunk in that it can't continue with business as usual.

All of us are going to have to change things and be aware that we will be handing over more of our income to the government and getting less in services back. Government at all levels has been living on borrowed money with the logic of there will be more revenue next year. When next year rolled around the revenue was less so the debt got higher. This upheavel is not only going to hit those on pensions, but all of us whether we are working, unemployed, retired, or whatever.

As Gary pointed out, it is time to tighten your seat belts and get ready for what will be a rough ride. If we can all avoid the selfish "me first" attitude and work together there just may be a brighter tomorrow.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:45 AM   #22
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We have government pensions...we did contribute to our pension funds and to a 401K type savings plan. Part of the reason we retired to PA was that there was an unwritten, but, tacit agreement that for us moving here and spending our retirement income, which is taxed in many ways, from sales taxes to property and school taxes, we would not have our retirement taxed. The state of PA actually makes money by this agreement as many of us "retirees" move into areas that would otherwise be, and are, "depressed" areas because of the lack of income producing jobs. A retiree's spending in the local economy is a "pseudo" income for local taxing in lieu of a worker's income. We are taxed, locally, just not at the state level.

As mentioned elsewhere, retirees have a zero chance of "improving our income" base. We are, basically, locked into whatever income we have. While many government plans have an "inflation increase" rule, that rule is highly variable and subject to whim of those that issue those increases. There is no increase this year...yet all of my expenditures have increased resulting in a net loss of income and when an "inflation increase" is granted, it is for far less than what my bills have increase by; retirees, all retirees, are subject to yearly reduction of our "net income". Our retirement incomes start out reasonably good, but, over a period of time, they loose their edge. While most retirees don't need public assistance, the reason, basically that the government is stealing your money in the first place, as time wears on, come closer and eventually, fall into several "receiving" categories of this assistance, usually for more than whatever "income tax" is being levied on a shrinking retirement income would yield. What advantage is there in taxing a retirement pension (it isn't income; I'm not working, ergo I don't have a work related payment base) if that tax eventually leads to my receiving more in "public assistance" than that tax would yield? It eventually (and already has) becomes a vicious circle...those that don't have demand more from those that do and the government has to steal more money from those that have to give away to those that want. Socialism at its finest. The individual is penalized for the benefit of the masses.

This "tacit" agreement is much like a long term loan contract. Imagine your bank, 18 months into a "60 month no interest" auto loan program enticement, telling you that "oops we need to up our income so that we can give the money away to others, including ourselves, so, we are now going to charge you interest for the rest of your loan life". Most people would not stand for it. I wouldn't, and I would certainly consider moving out of this state to avoid what I would consider an illegal "changing of the rules of the game". The government, I don't care at what level, does not make money, the only money they get is what they steal from the populace. The level of theft, in the name of socialism, is rapidly getting to the point where the average working stiff is beginning to object. A certain amount of "charity", the business of taking from one with more to give to one with less, is a noble endeavor, however, when those with less want, and come to expect, to have more than the charity base has, and is willing to give, leads to social unrest and eventual societal collapse.

I digress... What is being proposed is the same thing that the demonstrations in Wisconsin are protesting; a change in the rules of the game. It is no more "fair" to rewrite the terms of employment for those that "agreed" to the beginning set of rules, midstream, than to change the "terms of retirement" for those of us no longer in the work force. To change the rules for those not yet engaged in the "game" is one thing; they have the option of changing their strategies prior to "playing the game". Those of us already playing the retirement game, have no options, most of us are "unemployable" due to age (lack of physical ability) or health. If our governments can longer give away what they don't have (deficit spending) it is high time for them to stop giving away as much, as opposed to stealing (taxes) more.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:56 AM   #23
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Maybe it would help if the 57% of the American Workforce that pays NO INCOME TAX would just pay something, just a thought DUH! No that's stupid, let's let the top 5% of earners that pay 60% of all income taxs paid just pay more, that's fair, yeah, that's the ticket! They don't need the money anyway, after all, all they did was work for it like everyone else!
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:31 AM   #24
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"A contract is a contract" doesn't work when there is no money and there is no money in MI. The taxes are already so high they are losing people and congressmen in the census. No reason why teachers should be paying a large amount pf their benefits when the rest of us pay some, most or all. They make more than 85% of the regular people and won't find too much help there. No reason MI should be any different than the other 56 states. The real problem is early retirements. No reason government workers should retire 10 or 15 years earlie than regular folks.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:52 AM   #25
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The difference is changing the rules for people who have no way to make up the loss of the new tax. As we progress through our life and revenue earning careers we make decisions based on the rules we are to play by. How/where to save for retirement is one of these decisions. All the opportunities to save for retirement come with their own set of rules.

The difficult and unfair part is changing the rules after one looses the ability to earn revenue to recover from the rules change.
I'm close to the end of a job (+ or - 10 years, hopefully 5) where the pension ( Union) was changed ( reduced ) mid-stream. I can work another 10-20 years and not make up for what I have lost because of this change a few years back. There are other's who will end up working 40-50 years for this one employer....or say they will work till they die. There is no way I can make up for these changes...so why try......

Yes, the rug was pulled out from under me, plus with any changes to the age of SSI. I'll just suck it up and say Screw It.....life it meant to enjoy "Go RVing".

A few months back my union president said we should all keep working till we are no longer able to work because of health problems...????
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:21 PM   #26
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In some states government employees contribute to their pensions but in many states they do not. The taxpayers foot the bill. I had a client who was a retired high school principal who took early retirement at age 55. First he cashed in his sick pay of $45,000 and then he got his pension of $70,000 per year. If he lived a normal life expectancy he will draw between $2 and $2.5 million. His pension is guaranteed. No matter how bad the economy gets he will get his $70,000 with various escalators he has no worries.

For those of us with small businesses, we have no guarantees. We just have to hope we can put enough away for ourselves and we don't run out of money before we check out permanently. Here in NY after $20,000 of pension benefit I will end up paying NY income taxes on my retirement. My retired high school principal pays nothing in NY. This is fair because of what? The what is just that he had a bigger and better lobby than I did. Now those bloated pensions and benefits are coming home to roost. The states gave away too much and now they can't pay for what they promised. Is it painful? Yep, big time, but it will be getting worse, much, much worse.

We all need to pull together and work together to keep things afloat. If we just look at our individual situations and say the rest of the world be damned, then we will all be doomed.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:57 AM   #27
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"A contract is a contract" doesn't work when there is no money and there is no money in MI. The taxes are already so high they are losing people and congressmen in the census. No reason why teachers should be paying a large amount pf their benefits when the rest of us pay some, most or all. They make more than 85% of the regular people and won't find too much help there. No reason MI should be any different than the other 56 states. The real problem is early retirements. No reason government workers should retire 10 or 15 years earlie than regular folks.
Lindsay my friend, a contract IS a contract, when a contract is negotiated, the state is represented by the elected officials the union is represented by the negotiating team. Once terms are reached a contract is signed. The union has no recourse it the economy booms and every ones wages go up, they have to wait until the contract expires and they negotiate a new contract. I think we are a country of law. Now a Governor can change all with the stroke of a pen. That is immoral and I'm pretty sure will be proven illegal in the courts.
PS spent the day yesterday at Lovers Key dog beach with Zeus! Life is good!
PPS think there are still only 50 states, gotta watch those stubby fingers when you type LOL
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:18 AM   #28
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The Unions elected rep's were voted out.The people elected the officials that said they would change how things were and now the minority is up in arms.

It's not going to make any difference because diesels going to $5.50/gal by mid summer.And were all out.
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