Opinion

June 8, 2014

Whitfield, Dalton lead on pension planning

From California to Michigan cities and counties are facing bankruptcy, and the rising cost of paying for their retired employees is usually a major factor.

The sad fact is that state and local pension funds have trillions in unfunded liabilities, liabilities that continue to grow. It’s easier for politicians to agree to gold-plated retirement schemes for government workers than it is to find the money to pay for those plans.

Fortunately, local leaders have proven to be more prudent.

Whitfield County’s pension plan is 100 percent funded. The city of Dalton’s plan is funded at 66.3 percent. That’s not ideal, as city leaders admit. But it’s far above the level many governments are at.

And the City Council took a major step towards getting its pension costs under control 12 years ago. It closed the pension to new hires in 2002. Everyone hired since then has a “defined contribution” plan, similar to the 401(k) plans many businesses provide to their employees.

Many state and local governments are now looking at doing what Dalton did long ago and closing their pensions to new employees. But they are doing so under financial duress, because their finances have become unsustainable and they have few other options.

Dalton made its move well ahead of the curve. And that means the city isn’t accruing any new liabilities for taxpayers to bear.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • "We’ve had a great ride"

    For 60 years, the Green Spot has been a part of Dalton. It survived long after most other locally owned grocery stores in the area had folded to competition from big chain grocery stores and to big box super stores.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Traveler from a district in Columbia?

    Jim Gray was traveling out of Orlando International Airport when a Transportation Security Administration officer tried to stop him from boarding his plane.

    July 29, 2014

  • Letter: Children are not the enemy

    We recently read somewhere that our country is at war, not with another nation but with one another.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ensuring the joy of reading

    They’re little, they’re libraries, and best of all, they’re free.

    July 28, 2014

  • Move carefully, but soon

    No one intended for it to happen. No one had any bad motives.
    But during a period of 40 years or more, quite a few people didn’t do enough planning, didn’t have enough foresight to see what all of the development in Dalton would do.

    July 27, 2014

  • Local school systems must bear costs of federal immigration failure

    No word. No warning. Little help.
    That’s what Dalton Public Schools officials received from the federal government when it dropped 30 Central American students into local classrooms last school year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014