2011.09.14 Russ Griggs: What you don't hear about retirement

Written by David Green.

Earlier this month, the Buckeye Institute issued a report entitled, “Taxpayers on the Hook: Taxpayer Contribution Rates for Ohio Government Pensions Outpace National Averages.” The report claimed that the Ohio Teacher Retirement employer rate (the part the board pays) was ninth highest out of the 34 states with teacher retirement programs. The Report left out the fact that 22 of those states contribute to Social Security in addition to teacher retirement plans.

Ohio teachers do not belong to Social Security. They contribute 10 percent of their earnings to the state system, STRS. Combined with the 14 percent paid by the school board, as part of their compensation, adds up to 24 percent going into their retirement plan. Social Security members pay less than half that amount, and their employers pay less than 50 percent, soon to be further reduced.

When you compare Ohio to other states with retirement plans, not participating in Social Security, Ohio is 20th out of 34 states, being well below average. Of the 22 states with both Social Security and retirement systems, 18 are above the 14 percent paid in Ohio. It takes more than modern math to make 20 out of 34 and 18 out of 22 above average. (Unless you hold the chart upside down)

I started teaching in Maryland in 1974. My starting pay was twice what teachers were starting at in Ohio. During my entire career I made significantly less than educators in Michigan and Pennsylvania. The difference was Ohio having a retirement system that invested a much greater percent of my compensation resulting in a much better retirement. 

STRS has recommended changes to the legislature to keep the system solvent for many years to come. Can the same be said of Social Security? 

(Statistics above are from the Ohio State Retirement System) 

– Russ Griggs

Fayette Superintendent

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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