Few things spin public employees into a tizzy like proposed changes to their retirement plans.
Members of the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers are apparently flipping their lids over the Internal Revenue Service’s proposal to change its definition of retirement age to 62, speculating that state workers would have to remain employed seven years longer to qualify for a full pension, WVGazette.com reports.
The state’s Consolidated Public Retirement Board and governor’s office have been besieged with calls from state employees since posting a summary of the proposed IRS regulation change online earlier this year, CPRB Executive Director Jeff Fleck told the news site.
“Reality is, no one’s sure what the impact of the IRS defining normal retirement age at 62 (50 for law enforcement officials) would be, or how the regulation would be enforced,” WVGazette.com reports.
West Virginia-AFT spokesman Josh Sword told the Gazette that rumors of a change in the retirement age “spread like wildfire” among teachers, and the union is encouraging them to demand the IRS exempt public school employees.
That would, of course, negate the majority of any benefit the new regulation might have to keep public pensions viable. It’s the perfect example of the infamous “me first” union mentality that is wearing thin on taxpayers, and fueling efforts across the country to rein in escalating labor costs.
What Sword and other Big Labor bigwigs never seem to understand is that many citizens resent the notion that union employees deserve special protections that aren’t afforded to the general public. Most taxpayers employed in the private sector have little sympathy for government workers who are asked to contribute more toward their own lavish benefits.
Our hope is that IRS officials take the union’s objections to the change with a pound or two of salt, and weigh their concerns against the plight of private sector workers, who already struggle to pay for state employees’ cushy retirements.