The typical solution for Democrats and their far-left supporters when faced with a budget problem is to raise taxes. Jay Inslee offered new taxes as solution in his 2015-17 budget proposal and state House Democrats will likely follow suit when they introduce their budget tomorrow.
That’s why it should come as no surprise that, when testifying before the state Senate Ways and Means Committee in opposition to a pension reform bill on Tuesday, an official from the Washington Federation of State Employee (WFSE) recommended new taxes to pay for the growing costs of pensions.
The WFSE official’s comments came after GOP state Sen. John Braun pointed out that pension liabilities are the fastest growing part of the state budget. Simply put, at their current rate, pension payments are unsustainable.
As Shift reported, Washington State is projected to make more than $1 billion a year in pension payments by 2018. And, “about 40 percent of that is to pay down unfunded liabilities.” The expected increase “nearly doubles current pension payments” and it is the result of bad financial decisions made by the Democrat-controlled Legislature over the course of the years. The Freedom Foundation writes that legislators “have skipped required pension payments, adopted unrealistic rates of return, invested large amounts in risky private equity and enacted foolish policies like gainsharing and other costly benefit increases.”
Tuesday’s hearing addressed Sen. Braun’s Senate Bill 5982, which proposes to increase the state employee retirement age by two years. The new retirement age would vary from 64-67 depending on the state employee’s retirement plan. The bill is a modest reform meant to grant some relief in pension payments to state and local governments.
Any pension reform measure will be met with opposition from unions. Big labor infamously oppose even modest pension reforms, SB 5982 is no exception. Unfortunately, big labor’s new taxes response to rising pension costs is no exception to the typical far-left “solution” either.