We all know that the pension system for government employees is way out of hand. THC has touched on the topic a number of times. As a refresher, Will Houston of the Times-Standard pegged the unfunded liabilities for the County of Humboldt at $220 million last year.
Just recently, a friend of THC pointed us to a handy new website that frames the ridiculous level of unfunded pension liability in some shocking ways. (Unfunded pension liabilities, essentially, means money owed towards pension plans that is not covered by the government. Guess where the “unfunded” remainder comes from? Your pockets!)
We’ll highlight a few of the most alarming numbers for you here on THC, but feel free to check out California Pension Tracker for yourself at the following link: County of Humboldt Pension Liability
Essentially, our friends at California Pension Tracker break down the specifics of what each government agency in California owes in pension funding, using a couple of methods, and . They’ll even draw up graphs of the information they generate for you, as well. Here’s just such a graph:
Don’t you think it’s just great that you owe nearly $5,000 for other people to sit on their ass? But don’t stop there – you, your spouse, and your children, owe $11,219 towards the retirement plans of County employees.
Here’s that same information in non-graph form:
Want to know what’s even more sad? Eureka is worse off than the County is. Good job, Eureka! You’re in the Top 100 of California municipalities that are totally f***ed!
The County of Humboldt’s pension liability, for comparison, ranks it at 156th in California out of 1,182 eligible agencies. Yikes.
Anyway, perhaps the starkest reminder of just how screwed we arecomes not when we consider the pension cost per person, but when we think about just what all that money being siphoned from us is going towards. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the County’s retirees are forced to live in Humboldt’s soon-to-be-extinct trailer parks: many of them are raking in retirement pensions well in excess of Humboldt’s average income. Actually, scratch that; the vast majority of retirees are raking in more than most, and they do it while being “not working”!
In quite a few cases, actually, they’re pulling in over $100,000 a year in pension income plus their benefits. Want some examples? We’re happy to provide them!
First off, according to the US Census, the average Humboldt household takes in $42,153, while the income per capita is $23,516.
Now, thanks to Transparent California’s fantastic new tool which tracks individual pensions, we can tell you all about the retired folks who are making 4-5 times more than you do while working your ass off. THC quickly tried to count how many former County employees make as much as the average per capita income – but that would have taken way too long and we have to work for a living.
But there are 13 retirees who are raking in $100,000 per year alone. Ouch.
Now, mind you, this covers only employees of the County of Humboldt. Other divisions or agencies in the area that you depend on are also siphoning off of your tax dollars. Yay!
We’ll come back next post with a more in depth list of the millionaire retirees that are getting fat on the public’s dime via County of Humboldt’s pension plan, but in the meantime you can head over to TransparentCalifornia.com and poke around for yourself. If there’s any specific County employee you’d like us to highlight, just let us know who they are and why. Heck, knock yourselves out, give us the name of any government employee and we’ll be happy to oblige.
In the meantime, remember that there is one simple solution to keep our local leaders from digging us all deeper into the hole. All that it takes is for our County Supervisors, and Dan Fulks (County of Humboldt’s labor negotiator), to grow a pair and stand up to the County employee Union (AFSCME) and say: “Actually, we think we’ll worry about the future of the County and Humboldt residents before we continue to fund your $100+ retirement packages.” And that can happen as soon as next year’s round of labor negotiations.
Don’t you think that’d be a good idea? Here’s to that never happening because our leaders are a bunch of pansies who are more worried about their own pay – and their own pensions! – than about doing what’s right for the people they serve.
Cheers, THC fans!