New York still has a long way to go toward pension reform
Re April 28 AP article, “Crime does pay for state leaders”: For years, we have been hearing about the unfairness of the state pension system by those who can retire from some public-sector positions after 20 or 25 years and receive hefty pensions while working another public-sector job.
There are cases of triple dipping. And then there are (as you reported) the cases of [former Comptroller Alan] Hevesi getting $105,941: [Former state Sen. Carl] Kruger getting $58,000 and [Former Sen. Nicholas] Spano getting $70,154 a year while in prison. On the local level, we have [convicted arsonist Steven] Raucci, who has a pension of $79,000 while in jail.
Most unfair, I feel, is the state tax system, which allows gives private sector [a tax break] on the first $20,000 of their pensions (if they have them), but public sector employees do not have to pay state tax on any amount of their pension.
It has been pointed out there are several thousand getting over $100,000 a year in pensions, and there are many more who get over $50,000. A lot of it is padded by putting overtime and unused sick pay in the last year of service, which many pensions are based on, making it hard for local governments to produce budgets. Then there is the perk of having taxpayers pay their monthly Medicare payments.
Fortunately Gov. Cuomo is trying to make the system more fair by having new public-sector employees contribute more to their pensions so taxpayers do not have to pick up such a large tab. However, it seems it is impossible to change the contract with public-sector workers since there is such a large number of them, and politicians feel the need to get re-elected.
What about creating a new law to at least make it impossible for felons to get these hefty pensions? Why not write a law to charge them room and board while they are in jail? They can certainly afford it. That way taxpayers are not hit twice to take care of them.
And I am willing to bet 99 percent of public-sector workers would go along.
Mary Kuykendall Weber
Don’t take subject of insurance fraud lightly
The May 2 cartoon, “Real Life Adventures,” shows two seemingly normal, everyday folks discussing serious insurance fraud.
What is it about our society that causes such a “me-first, get-what-you-can-at-any-cost. regardless-of-whether-it’s-right-or-wrong” attitude in our society? Why do so many of us feel like it’s OK to cheat on seemingly innocuous things like taxes and insurance? Why are really criminal things like shoplifting, littering and driving while intoxicated so common?
I realize it’s only a comic, but truth can often be found in humor. Something is seriously wrong in our society when basic honesty and civility is treated so cavalierly.
Frank L. Palmeri
Senators who sold out on gun safety will be sorry
I am a hunter who hunts with guns. I am for background checks, and I vote.
The senators who voted against gun [sale] background checks are greedy, yellow-bellied cowards, kowtowing to the lies promoted by the gun and ammunition manufacturers’ lobby and the radical minority of the National Rifle Association.
They are more in fear of losing their Senate seat than in honestly representing the will of the majority of their constituents. They should be ashamed for breaking their oath of office by putting personal interests ahead of what’s best for their country. I don’t understand how they can look at themselves in a mirror.
I hope they realize that the imaginary Second Amendment slippery slope they use as an excuse for their vote is nothing compared to the slippery slope they have taken toward their failed re-election.
I will do all I can to ensure that they are not re-nominated for the Senate, and if they are nominated, that they are defeated.
Benefits far outweigh risks of HPV vaccine
Most people are unaware that human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection and that they will probably become infected over the course of their lifetime and not even know it.
People are too quick to judge the newly leading vaccine by the negative publicity it has gotten, and I strongly suggest that people do their research before letting that impact their decision on whether to receive it or not. The vaccine is used for the prevention of cervical cancer in women, as well as protecting males and females from four harmful strains of HPV.
This cost-effective vaccine can save lives and reduce further risk of precancerous cells, so why not become an informed consumer and see that the benefits outweigh the risks?