Bowling Green Daily News letter-to-the-editor: Ignorance is more expensive than education

Thanks to Bill Londrigan for sending us this.

By ELDON RENAUD

I believe the state pension cuts and education cuts proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin are unfair and unlawful.

The governor lacks the authority to decrease a public employees’ pension unless he declares it a police state, imminent danger to citizens. The legislature needs to concentrate on tax reform to eliminate wasteful loopholes returning billions to state coffers. For the last 20 years, the budget was balanced by taking pension money from the teachers and public employees' pensions. Bevin wants to eliminate 70 good government programs. He wants to burden local government and schools that can’t afford to take on more transportation costs and increased pension obligations.

He would set a better example by ending the practice of investing hundreds of millions in high-risk investments of teacher pension money in junk bonds and hedge funds with high fees. It just doesn’t pass the smell test. Some of this money is invested by the Arnold Foundation, which is a major contributor to charter schools instead of public education, which the teachers support.

Over $100 million of the teacher retirement money is invested with Oaktree Capital, which is also involved in advancing charter schools. Republicans and Democrats have an obligation, by law, to pay these earned pensions. When Bevin talks about changing from defined pensions to 401(k)s, that doesn’t solve today’s crisis and it cheats new employees out of 10 to 15 percent of their earnings. They don’t rob their own legislative pensions or the judicial pensions which are funded at 80 percent, they take it from teachers and government employees. What is going to happen when the schools and local government can’t pay these unfunded mandates? Respect our teachers and government workers.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Eldon Renaud