Karyn Polito Candidate for State Treasurer Interviewed By Emily Rooney

Polito discusses one of her more interesting policy proposals – eliminating state pensions for elected officials:

As a result of our unfunded pension obligations, Massachusetts taxpayers are required to pay about $1.4 billion each year to make up the difference in the system, which translates to a liability of about $1,000 for every household across the state. Those costs are only expected to grow over time. If we could eliminate this unfunded liability, we would have enough money to not only roll back the sales tax to 5.0%, but almost double the amount of unrestricted local aid we pay to cities and towns every year. More local aid means fewer layoffs of police, firefighters and teachers.

With every change there needs to be a first step.

I think the process of reforming our pension system needs to start with forbidding newly-elected state officials from receiving a state pension. This one, simple step will go a long way to taking the politics out of our pension system. It will substitute sound, objective reasoning when it comes to deciding benefits as opposed to the self-interest that we see in all too many cases. We need to return to the citizen government our founding fathers intended, one where public service is a privilege and not a ticket to ‘retirement riches’. To demonstrate my conviction in this regard, I will make myself ineligible to take a public pension by withdrawing all my past contributions from the state pension system and placing them in a private retirement account.

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