CHICAGO – Taxpayers United of America Vice President, Christina Tobin, called on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to set the standard for transparency by leading his state to release its government pension data.
“I have written a letter to Gov. Daniels, urging him to change the culture of secrecy surrounding government employee pension benefit amounts. He can champion enforcement of Indiana’s existing freedom of information law: IC 5-14-3-1, regarding access to public records, viz, : “…all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government…”
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“Indiana has refused to release the names and pension amounts for its retired employees at every level of government. There is a culture of resistance and secrecy around the salaries of current employees as well. Indiana State and local government officials have been more resistant in providing salary data than any other state in which we have researched the government pensions”, said Tobin.
“In states like Indiana that refuse to disclose individual pensions, we estimate pensions for current employees using their current salaries and the specific pension rules for the fund in which they participate. While this provides a reasonable estimate, the people have a right to know actual pension amounts.”
“Speaking of the total pension funds in terms of millions of dollars doesn’t mean anything to average working people who are making $30,000 or $40,000 a year. But when people see that they are paying to support the lavish, million dollar payouts of their retired neighbors, the problem becomes very clear”.
“In Indiana, the government employee pensions are funded entirely by the taxpayers with no employee contributions. This is the peoples’ money and they have a right to the details of the spending of it”.
“The issue of the Indiana government pensions, and the secrecy surrounding it, has received extensive press coverage, affirming the taxpayers’ need to know”.
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“Governor Daniels has championed some important fiscal improvements in Indiana and we are calling on him to again lead the way to a transparent culture of government, by and for the people,” said Tobin.
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