For about a year my work has been deducting 3% from my paycheck to pay for current retiree healthcare. I am not remotely guaranteed to ever see that money, nor is it guaranteed that the money will actually be used for retiree healthcare. Let me just say that “retiree healthcare” is really just from age 55-65 until Medicare kicks in and frankly no one in my generation is going to be able to retire at age 55. I’ll be luck to retire at age 65, but planning on at least 67-70. Oh and did I mention if I don’t retire from there I see none of it, even if I pay in for years!
The issue has gone through the lower court system and been declared unconstitutional. Not because they are taking the money, but because the politicians are not supposed to have control over our benefits and wages. The Constitution designated a commission of appointees for that. The reason, prior to the constitutional amendment most state employees were hired and fired every turnover of the governor and even stopped working to campaign for their “current boss”. In the 1960’s the amendment was put into place to stop that kind of thing. As it is, we still get reorganized almost every eight years with a new administration, costing tons of money.
My point is, this lawsuit for our 3% in pay is more than just getting our money back. It has now gone on to the State Supreme Court, if it does not end in the favor of the employees it will have far-reaching implications and the old system will be in place again. There are actually a number of bills in the legislature aimed at putting control of the public employees back into the hands of the politicians. Can you imagine the constant up and down of wage, benefit, and hiring criteria that would ensue every time control of the legislature changed hands. Eek! Talk about a wast of taxpayer money.
On the other hand, if we win, I will be getting a windfall of close to $2000, as of now. I debated what to do with the money, spend it on a new bed, down payment on a newer used car, put into 401k? What I really want is to use it to pay down my Credit Card #1. However, due to these uncertain times, I may just enhance my emergency fund. Either way, by the time this finishes up, I may never see it or it may be double the size! I am hoping for the later!