State Employees and Double Dipping, Not Cute People, Not Cute
I thought you Utah people were a bunch of freaking saints, what's up with this?
Retired state employees who return to government work are costing Utah hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits at a time the state retirement system is facing a $6.5 billion shortfall, a legislative audit released Wednesday said.
The audit called for state lawmakers to ban the practice of double-dipping in which employees collect a salary in addition to state retirement benefits.
The state retirement system covers state and local governments, as well as public and higher education employers.
The audit said allowing rehired employees to collect pension benefits has cost the state more than $400 million in the past eight years and will cost nearly $900 million over the next 10.
Hey, maybe they learned it by watching California!
John Benoit, a Republican state senator from Palm Desert and a former California Highway Patrol captain, is one. He draws a $98,600 annual state pension while also collecting a six-figure salary as a lawmaker.
David Turner retired as a state fire chief in 2004, went back to work for the state firefighting agency two days later and is still employed there. He collected $65,229 in salary in the last fiscal year in addition to a state pension of $105,000.
Paul W. Anderson is a psychiatrist at Napa State Hospital who retired two years ago from the state Department of Mental Health. His pension is $117,840. He also received $104,200 in state wages in the last fiscal year.
State records show that more than 5,600 others are drawing double checks, a figure 57% higher than a decade ago. Meanwhile, billions of dollars -- $3.3 billion in this fiscal year alone -- are being siphoned from the state budget to cover pension system expenses.
The California Public Employees' Retirement System and California State Teachers' Retirement System combined lost about $98 billion -- nearly a quarter of their value -- after their investments were battered in the real estate and stock markets over the last two years.
CalPERS is under additional strain from enhancements approved by lawmakers a decade ago that allow most state employees to retire at 55 instead of 60 and public-safety workers at 50.
"The notion is we have retirement systems so once people stop working they are provided for," said Alicia H. Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. "It seems just not acceptable to taxpayers that people are earning a salary and a retirement check."
Oh now that's just tacky.