For many years tens of thousands of public school educators have been the whipping boy for many of the state’s ills. After taking billions of dollars from the state teachers pension fund (not a negotiated loan but a shameful money grab) the legislature has annually failed to adequately pay back the state’s documented obligation to the fund (which has created an even bigger state deficit). Due in large measure to lack of foresight and mismanagement, the state now faces a huge financial crisis. Is the painful burden going to be borne by the entire population? If you answered “yes,” think again. Under the new two-year budget, public school teachers are being singled out for special treatment. They will see a 16.66 percent increase in pension deductions. Instead of 6 percent, to fund their pensions, next year they will see that 7 percent is being deducted. This was not negotiated, as with the other state unions. This will be a tax imposed upon the largest group of public employees in the state. The additional 1 percent will be used entirely to reduce the state’s contribution to the pension fund which, basically, means that the teachers are being forced to pay back to their pension fund the money that the state “borrowed.” Even the public school retirees are not being forgotten. They currently pay state income tax on 75 percent of their pensions. This was supposed to be reduced to 50 percent years ago, but the legislature has continuously delayed the deduction. Under the new budget, the tax remains at 75 percent at least for two more years.Is any other group being hit with such a heinous increase? Will any other segment of the population be forced to assume the same tax burden that the tens of thousands of teachers will be experiencing?
Ed Grady, Berlin
Each election year, though reported candidate campaign cash in Meriden remains around $2,000/candidate, it’s striking that the number and size of political billboards continues to expand. One vandalized sign this cycle was claimed as a $100 dollar loss. With those numbers 10 to 20 signs would deplete a candidate’s resources ignoring all other expenses. These numbers make no sense. Perhaps there’s a fund of unreported contributions, in kind or otherwise. Who’s financing this wall-to-wall signage saturation?
David James, Meriden
I read in Tuesday’s Record-Journal that the new train station is opening in Wallingford. One question I would like to ask the public officials. Where does one go to relieve oneself, since there are no public restrooms at the train station? Does one use the back of the train? Did the public officials forget the elderly, disabled, children, and pregnant individuals? Are we not humans? Bring your own pot, seems to be the answer.
Mike Sadonis, Meriden
Today is election day and once again the ACES organization has scheduled a big gathering at the Edison Magnet School, continuing to cause a voting day problem. The magnet school is less that a ½ mile from the polling place at Washington Middle School. The magnet school doesn’t have nearly enough parking spaces to accommodate their attendees. This results in many attendees using Robin Hill Road as a parking lot. I am a resident of Robin Hill Road, a P-shaped, single-access narrow residential road situated between the middle school and the magnet school off of north Broad Street. As I write this there are more than 80 cars parked on both sides of our road almost all the way around the P. Not only is this an irritant to the road’s residents, but much more importantly the parking at the polling location is limited and Robin Hill is a close alternative parking option for voters. If ACES attendees take all that space, their presence amounts to voter suppression. During the last congressional and national elections ACES did the same scheduling and I brought the issue to their attention, expecting that they would make the necessary adjustments to the scheduling or location of their gathering in order not to have an impact on voting. Clearly that has not happened. 2018 and 2020 will have bigger voting turnouts. I strongly urge our elected officials to work with ACES to come to some solution that assures that this possible voter suppression is avoided in the future.
Ann Cerreta, Meriden