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Friday, 17 May 2019 13:50

COLUMN: If the gift is a promise, you can’t return it

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A large majority of retirees work between 25 to 30 years in public service before receiving their retirement, contributing 6 percent of their pay each month. For many public sector workers that monthly, required contribution impacts their daily lives — this mandatory contribution to their pension often takes money away from a family’s daily buying power.

It’s a long-term investment for the close to 690,000 public sector workers across North Carolina, even more than that, it’s a promise.  

As the general assembly works through the 2019-2020 budget, our legislators need to keep their promise and give our state’s more than 270,000 government retirees a desperately needed—and well earned—cost of living adjustment. 

These men and women also work in some of the most unglamorous jobs possible, protecting us from harm and hardship. Often their work is invisible yet invaluable to us. We have the luxury of taking for granted that our streets will be safe, the bad guys will go to jail, our children will be educated and our environment will exist without harmful contamination or pollution. 

Think about it, giving our children — and the next generation — a safe world where they may become educated, healthy citizens, is the most important thing for us. We want a world where the sick may become well, where there is law and order. We want a world that’s environmentally sustainable.  

That world is remarkably shaped by the labors and contributions of the public sector. 

While we often forget the impact public sector workers have — until a disaster like Hurricane Florence reminds us of their commitment and brawn — our legislators must remember them. 

These retirees kept their promise to us. Our legislators need to keep their promise to them. 


 Richard Rogers is executive director of the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees Association.



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