They are huge, and they are complicated.
There are billions of dollars of sales tax revenue and general fund monies at stake here with much of it being foisted off on future generations.
I don't pretend to understand all of the complicated financial and accounting maneuvering that the plan depends on, but it's based on assumptions that could easily turn out to be false.
For example, when the Curry team was selling voters on the idea of approving a new half-cent sales tax that would begin being collected in 2031 with the revenues dedicated solely to paying off the city's pension debt, the team predicted that could happen as early as 2045, thus ending the tax.
During Thursday's presentation, that prediction was moved to five or six years later, which would cost taxpayers
I have great respect for
But the plan needs to be thoroughly scrutinized by outside experts to make sure each ramification is understood.
While Curry may have his way with
That's particularly true for police and firefighters, whose pension fund contributed to a majority of the debt. They have to be smiling like Cheshire cats.
For starters, they will get a 3 percent bonus and then 20 percent in raises spaced over three years.
In pitching the plan, Curry's team played every string on the violin: They noted that police and firefighters hadn't had a raise in nine years.
For those in the private sector who worked through the Great Recession, that's a very familiar tune. But a 23 percent bump in pay is sweet music they aren't likely to hear anytime soon.
If the deal is approved, new hires would be placed in a 401(k)-style retirement plan, which is Curry's main goal.
But all of the current police and firefighters and those hired before the plan would take effect on
And that includes keeping the 3 percent annual COLA for retirees and the guaranteed 8.4 percent return on money in DROP accounts.
Those are the two benefits I hear the most complaints about, and they were reduced in the 2015 pension reform agreement, which this deal supersedes.
And police and firefighters even get a new benefit called a “share plan,” which takes money coming from the state that is collected on insurance premiums and can be used to increase benefits for retirees.
Under the 2015 agreement, much of that money was set aside to help pay down the debt. All of this — the benefits, the debt payments — are part of a package that can only be voted up or down by the council.
It may be the best way to go.
It may not be.
But before we can arrive at an answer, the question needs to be thoroughly studied.
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