WTOL 11 | Group pushing for transparency, change in public employee pension system

Findings from TUA’s pension project on Toledo, Ohio, are featured in this story from WTOL 11.

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – A group called Taxpayers United of America was in Toledo Thursday pushing for reform in the way Ohio handles public employee pensions.
The group says employee pension information should be made public.  They also want the state to end defined benefit pensions for new hires and increase contributions for employee pensions and healthcare premiums.
Since pension information is not made public, the group says they have estimated pensions for Toledo and Lucas County employees.  The group claims top earners in the area stand to collect more than $4.7 million in the form of a pension upon retirement.  They also say dozens of city employees have pensions higher than $3 million.
Taxpayers United for America representatives say they are concerned about the pattern because the current pension system is unsustainable.
“The system will collapse,” said Raeann McNeilly of Taxpayers United. “There will be no money in the system for hardworking people who have looked forward their whole lives to living off the benefits they were promised. They just won’t be there.”
City of Toledo spokesperson Jen Sorgenfrei says there are flaws in the methodology Taxpayers United of America used to estimate city employee pensions figures. Toledo Mayor Michael Bell has supported eliminating city pickup of employees’ pension shares.

WKBN 27 First News | Pensions of Public Workers Exposed

Findings from TUA’s pension project on Youngstown, Ohio, are featured in this article at WKBN 27 First News.
A grassroots, non-profit organization is exposing the top salaries and pensions for government employees in Youngstown.
The group Taxpayers United of America made a stop in Youngstown on Tuesday during its Ohio tour. The group said it’s letting the taxpayers know where their dollars are going for these multi-million dollar pension payouts.
The state of Ohio does not release the actual pension amounts, so the organization released estimates based on salaries.
“The top of our list we have Wendy Webb. She has an estimated total pension payout of over $4.2 million. Charles Sammarone of Youngstown, Ohio, government employee. I see the mayor incumbent, $3.5 million,” said Christina Tobin, vice president of Taxpayers United of America.
The group is urging Governor John Kasich and the General Assembly to release pension figures to taxpayers.
For more information on Taxpayers United of America, click here.

Columbus Dispatch | Pension reform sought by taxpayers group

Findings from TUA’s pension project on Columbus, Ohio, are featured in this article at the Columbus Dispatch.
An anti-pension group was in Columbus yesterday, decrying the fact that some high-paid government employees can get large cumulative pension payments after retirement.
Taypayers United of America, which was founded in Illinois and is expanding into other states, called on Gov. John Kasich and lawmakers to pass “meaningful” pension reform.
That includes ending traditional “defined benefit” pension plans for new hires and switching them to 401(k)-style plans; increasing current employees’ contributions to their pensions by 10 percent; and making employees and retirees pay 50 percent of their health-care premiums.
Rae Ann McNeilly, outreach director for the organization, said a plan to raise retirement ages, scale back cost-of-living increases and make employees contribute more — stalled in the legislature for more than two years — doesn’t go far enough.