Letter: Just say ‘no’ to Republicans’ pension reform

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016

In the Sat., April 30, 2016, edition of the Andalusia Star-News there were two articles of significant interest. One is titled “Pension reform will come to Alabama” by Katherine Robertson, Vice President for the Alabama Policy Institute (API) and Alabama Representative Lynn Greer, District 2. The second article is titled “So-called Alabama pension crisis is a myth” by Dr. David Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA).

Robertson and Greer, along with the Republican legislature are under the impression that they know how to better manage the RSA than Bronner. To better understand this, let’s compare and contrast API, Greer, and Bronner.

The Alabama Policy Institute is a conservative “think tank.” (If you think about it, that’s the best oxymoron ever!) The API is a member of the State Policy Network whose sole purpose is “hijacking state politics and government and changing both to a corporate agenda in state houses nationwide.” In other words more accumulated wealth for the richest of the rich. If there’s any doubt, the Koch brothers, and other unknown national right-wing zealots fund the SPN.

Greer represents the currently failed Alabama legislature. Because Republican legislators don’t have the courage to shore up Alabama’s decreasing tax base, for every dollar cut, Medicaid loses three dollars in federal funding. Eight hospitals have closed since 2011. Physicians are leaving the state. Health care costs will skyrocket. People will die. How’s this for leadership?

Under David Bonner’s tenure, RSA assets have grown from $500 million to $37 billion. RSA ranked in the top 12 percent of the nation’s largest pension funds at the end of the 2015 fiscal year. After George W. Bush (R) crashed the economy in 2008 more than two trillion’s dollars were lost in pension funds. During this same period, RSA members saw a 1 percent return. Rather than addressing real problems, Republicans are always trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

So who knows best, an organization hell-bent on destroying the middle class, a failed legislature or a renowned economist? The RSA is the envy of many other states. The Alabama legislature is not.

Let’s be clear. The Alabama Republican legislature is salivating over a big pile of money. They know other sources of revenue (tax reform) are desperatly needed to solve the state’s escalating problems. However getting elected the next time is far more important. So under the guise of “pension reform” is a calculated effort to weaken and drain the RSA of its resources.

If you’re a teacher, fireman, or other public worker call Rep. Lynn Greer at 334-242-7576 or send an email to lynn.greer@alhouse.gov and tell him thank you, but no thank you. We don’t need your “help.” Say NO to Republican “pension reform.”


Sheri Powell