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LTE: “Many retired S.C. State employees are considering our possible support for a Democratic President, Governor, and Legislature over COLA veto”

June 1, 2008

Mr. Jeffrey Sewell

S.C. Hotline Headlines

Dear Mr. Sewell,

I have in the past been so happy to read your emails of which has been really informative to myself & family. Additionally, I have suported Republican Candidates runinng for both Statewide and Federal Offices for almost 35 years now.

My question and point I’d like to make to yourself today is: I am a S.C. Retired State Employee on State Retirement Disability. And knowing that now, Please explain to me how I am expected to continue supporting a Republican Legislature but more importantly, a Republican Governor who stands before his Office Staff and the News Media making the announcement that he will not sign into law and/or approve the small economic increase of 2% in our Monthly Retirement Checks that we have been expecting this year, for any reason.

Mr. Sewell, I worked for my State of S.C. for many years as a trusted & faithful employee. And I, like many other retirees I receive such a small check each month that we wait year after year for our small increase in monthly pay. It is so disheartening to hear those words from a Governor of whom we supported with our votes, time, and even money. It is because of these reasons and many more as to why many Retired State Employees are considering our possible support for a Democratic President, Governor, and Legislature instead of the Republicans.  Can Governor Sanford even consider for a moment that some of us still have children in High School who have not even made it to College yet. I don’t see how it will be possible to send our children on to College. We certainly can’t afford to pay College Debts for any of them. It is sad but we live from monthly paycheck to monthly paycheck just to live. And we’re told that we don’t even qualify for USDA Food Stamps. Of Course, we won’t even go there and speak of our rising gas prices. And we also do not have any type of Medical Insurance, and because I receive a Disability Check from the State of South Carolina, we also don’t qualify for any type of Medical Coverage that’s affordable to us. For my family to receive Medical Insurance even from the least minimal charged Insurance Company, it would cost us actually $375.00 more than I receive in my Retirement Check each month.

Mr. Sewell, I do know there’s nothing you personally can do for my family or anyone else in these matters, but I do Thank You so much for listening to me vent this out. If you do however, know of any suggestions for us, please advise.

Sincerely & Respectfully,

Charles E. Rogers

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Commonman permalink
    June 1, 2008 5:26 PM

    Very well said. This Governor makes the best case against concentrating any more power in the hands of Governors. Fortunately, there are some Republican leaders that will try to do the right thing. Speaker Harrell has publicly stated that he disgrees with Sanford over this veto. I would imagine that Senators McConnell and Leatherman would oppose this veto. Of course, there will be some Republican legislators who will support this Governor regardless of what he does to state employees. Check out Representative Ballentine’s blog if you want to see a flawed ratinale for supporting the Governor on his vetoes. At least Rick Quinn had an independent streak and tried his best to represent his constituents.

  2. Frances permalink
    June 1, 2008 6:35 PM

    I am a retired on disability state employee. When I entered on duty with the state in 1969, I was not promised a COLA or a raise of any kind when I retired. Why should I, retired, get a 2% raise when working state employees only get 1%? Anything I get is gratis. Currently I am guaranteed a 1% raise. The bill is flawed in that it doesn’t guarantee me a 2% raise. ONLY if it doesn’t affect the unfunded liability, only if the index warrants it and only, only, only. I’d rather have the guaranteed 1% than a possibility of no raise at all. The Governor understands this – I hope other retired state employees will, also. I’m on Medicare and kept my state employees insurance plan in force. Most retirees do all right, thank you – we’re not charity cases.

  3. Elizabeth Moultrie permalink
    June 1, 2008 7:19 PM

    I am a homemaker and mother married to a state employee (a teacher) who may receive a one percent raise. Maybe. The truth is, that neither this state nor any other that I know if at this time, can afford to give its employees or retirees any increase in pay in this economy. It’s stupid to even consider it. How is a two percent increase in benefits going to be funded. Better yet, how will it help you if taxes have to be raised two to three percent to pay for it?
    Why not direct your angst at the legislature for funding any kind of special interest project in this economy, and refusing state employees and retirees an increase in their pay or benefits? How about directing your anger at the state legislature that votes for itself a hefty increase in their retirement when state employees can’t take their children to the doctor because state health plan benefits have been cut and the costs to employees increased? Get real, people. If you want change, vote out these people who think only of themselves and their own benefit and vote IN a new legislature that knows the constitutional confines of government and is willing to stick to them.

  4. ted vick permalink
    June 1, 2008 7:25 PM

    Just check the record, since I’ve been a legislator Democrates in SC have always supported state employees. It was Herb Kirsh D-York who introduced the first budget proviso a couple of years ago to give the guaranteed 1 percent COLA. Jeffrey thanks for your blog; I encourage all your readers to vote for those who vote for their interests. When it comes to educatuon and state employees, we Democrates will stick by our stellar record of always being proudly on their side.

    Chief Democrate Whip

  5. June 1, 2008 7:29 PM

    Editors Note: Our question would be; how has the other unfunded pet projects e.g. bean museum, et cetera pork barrel projects effected the ability of our state government to be fair to those via at least a 2 percent COLA?

  6. Typical SClian permalink
    June 1, 2008 7:52 PM

    Whats wrong with pork and beans? Lets put the pork in the beans and just let it ride.

  7. Sam Griswold permalink
    June 1, 2008 7:53 PM

    For the record, the 2% COLA will not be funded with tax money. It is not even funded by the General Fund at all except for regular employer contributions. It is funded by current employee/employer contributions and return on investment of the State Retirement Fund. The legislation the Governor vetoed specifically prohibited using an increase in appropriations from the General Fund to finance an additional ad hoc COLA and thus is more conservative than the law we have now. Who knows where this Governor gets his advice?

  8. Commonman permalink
    June 1, 2008 11:02 PM

    Thanks for being Paul Harvey on this one and giving us “the rest of the story”, Sam.

  9. Darrell Wallace permalink
    June 2, 2008 1:03 AM

    I am a retired Electrician from the School District of Greenville County. I elected the State Plan of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. When I retired BC & BS became my secondary insurance My wife has had several operations and between Medicare and BC&BS I have been well taken care of.
    I don’t understand the gentleman who doesn’t seem to have followed what I did and now cannot afford insurance. Sure it takes a good bit of my State Restirement to carry BC&BS but I worked and managed to pay off my house and car before I retired.
    We all have to be responsible for what debts we incur and I don’t know all this gentleman had to cope with, but I know I was offered the course I took and I’m glad I did.
    As to the Cost of living raise it would be good to have but the Governor is trying to keep the spendthrifts from making the State more insolvent.
    In these times we all have to pull our belts in a little. There has been too many pork barrel items that have brough South Carolina to this point.

    Last but not least, we all should look to God. He fed and clothed 2 1/2 million people in a desert for 40 years and did it even when they were rebellious and had a lack of faith in Him. Folks it’s God, not the Government we should look to— not Government.

  10. Helen Lail permalink
    June 3, 2008 3:58 AM

    Amen! Mr. Wallace, you are correct! We must look to God rather than our government for our support. We worked hard for many years and paid into the S.C. Retirement System just as we have also worked and paid into our Social Security System. As State of South Carolina Retirees, we expect to receive what was agreed upon at the time of our retirement. One thing we can feel good about is that we did support our retirees when we worked for the State of South Carolina. Our retirees got better raises then than those of us working received. We never felt badly about that because we felt they had worked years and paid into the retirement system for others, so they deserved the raises. It is God who will judge us in the end, and it is God who will take care of us. All people will reap what they sow! God bless you and God bless the hard working people in America. In my view, the problem in America lies not with the hard working folks, but with those who expect to receive free support from our government (from the taxes we pay) without lifting a finger to work. If our government cannot see this problem, it is only because they choose not to see it. All folks need to do their share of work and their share of support for those who are truly unable to work. It is only through teaching the love of Jesus and having love for others in our hearts and not being greedy that we can change the world – one hard-working individual and taxpayer at a time and no “free lunch”. It does not matter which political party we choose because there are good and evil folks in both parties, and the decisions they have made have contributed to the situation we are in now in the United States. When I look from the Rupublican point of view, I understand the need to balance the budget. But, who was being irresponsible all this time to get the State in the situation it is now in? It did not happen overnight, nor in one decade! Each individual has a view point based on his moral belief. The problem lies with the morals of our government at all levels. When good people are in charge, people are treated fairly. The pay increase is not very much money anyway, but we earned it! If correct choices had been made via our government, we would be getting good increases and those who do not work would be getting what they deserve – nothing! They chose their paths! Anyone who wants to work in American can; they just have to crawl before they walk, work hard, and never give up! If they do not work, they should not eat! (Unless, of course they are truly not able. In which case, none of us should mind helping them. It is the right thing to do.) My belief is if only those who were sincerely unable to work received money from the government, there would be plenty of tax money for those in need. Folks, please pray that our Government (both State and Federal) will have their eyes opened before it is too late for them and our people. No, I am not a preacher, just a God fearing Christian, State of South Carolina Retiree, and taxpayer.

  11. Glad I left permalink
    June 13, 2008 1:37 PM

    If state employees were treated this way in my current state of residence, there would be a revolt. And for the record, my state is financially solvent, ranks among the top 10 states in education, and actually compensates people for their abilities. Imagine that!

    All of this is serves as a pleasant reminder why I left SC a year ago.

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