Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Pension issue needs attention

Angelo, the proposal to change state employee and Vermont teacher pensions that is being considered by the Legislature is a major issue in Vermont today. Teachers have used a strategy of letter writing (published in this newspaper), holding a Zoom meeting where teachers presented to local legislators and testifying before legislative committees.
The result of these efforts has been the same reduced pension proposal but now available to educators when they reach full Social Security retirement age, 67 or 68, rather than the rule of 90 (age plus years of service). For many teachers in their mid-50s this means working many additional years to get their pension.
I believe your voice, Angelo, as editor of the Addison Independent, is perhaps the most important in our local community. From editorials about Frank Cutler to the many well-penned about Donald Trump, I almost always agree with your positions and am envious that I cannot say things so well.
This is why I am baffled as to why the Addison Independent has not written an article or taken a position on this important issue. The fact that all teachers six or more years from retirement will receive the same reduced benefits as a teacher who is new to the system and will have to work until the age of 67 or 68 seems unfair and poorly designed.
To me it seems that the Legislature has taken a sledgehammer to the system rather than a well-planned and carefully crafted proposal with incremental changes.
A more incremental proposal would respect the many years of service teachers have given as well as the fact that the Legislature has created this problem by underfunding the pension system for 17 years and now wants a one-time quick fix. Please consider taking a stance on this important issue.
Jeff Murawski
Cornwall
Editor’s note: This was sent privately to Angelo and we were given permission to print as a letter to the editor.

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