Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday August 14th 2018

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Rant & Rave 12.2

A&E PRAISE What an entertaining and informative article that I found in my latest issue of the IN on Christmas plays written by Barry Shuck (Independent News, “Christmas Plays Offer Holiday Get-Togethers,” Nov. 25). My family loves plays. We always have company at Christmas, and as the article states they are here for the beautiful weather/beaches of Northwest Florida as their annual vacation (and yes, more laundry!). We usually get tired of always going to movies for things to do. This article is amazing and timely to us!

Now, not only do we have lots of options but the options outlined are Christmas-season related. How cool is that? And please keep it coming with events and stories about Vinyl Music Hall. Bubbs Harris always does an excellent job describing what not to miss. Thank you for your time and keep up the great work.

—Petrie Wyldnolinski, Navarre
FULL-BODY SCAN With budget shortfalls at an estimated $140 billion collectively, many U.S. states are facing Greece-like crises. While many states are considering cuts, tax increases or both, a detailed pat down of state and local employee pay and benefits should be their top priority.

• Half of all state and local government money was spent on wages and benefits in 2008 to the tune of $1.1 trillion, according to Sunshine Review.

• States have fallen $1 trillion short on what they are required to pay retired workers, according to the Pew Center on the States. Some estimates are even higher.

American taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet are being forced to fund bloated systems rampant with abuse.

• According to the Chicago Tribune, “In Glencoe [Illinois], a free Jeep, bonuses and other perks to an outgoing parks director cost local taxpayers an extra $350,000. Joliet [IL] officials literally wrote pension spiking into the employee handbook, costing taxpayers there nearly $500,000 extra on the outgoing city manager alone.”

• A former city manager in California receives an annual $500,000 retirement check.

Many state employees have figured out how to game the system.

• After earning less than $10,000 a year for 24 years, a New Jersey public employee spent one year as a prosecutor with a salary of $141,000, raising his yearly pension from $3,600 to $70,000.

• An employee of the Department of Corrections in Massachusetts spent almost 30 years as an administrative assistant before becoming a prison guard. After working only one year as a corrections officer, her retirement will be that of a career prison guard.

Others have figured out that they can retire early, collect their generous pensions and then simply be rehired by the state, collecting both a pension and a paycheck, which is legal in several states.

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