BOSTON – Voters in the Fourth Middlesex District have many issues to consider when voting for a state representative this November. Massachusetts faces tough financial challenges. People often vote for candidates who tell them what they want to hear, not the truth that needs to be told. In order to have real change, the residents will need to elect representatives that can talk to the people about the choices we face.
One of the tough challenges Mr. Levy is willing to take on is state pension reform. This is obviously not an easy topic. Addressing this issue will help not only taxpayers, but also those who expect to receive a state pension in the future. If reform does not occur, the funds will go broke and ultimately will not be available for the very people resisting reform today. This is one of those topics where the state needs someone who has the courage to talk to the residents of the state like adults capable of understanding the tough issues. Avoiding the hard choices may make elections easier, but it does nothing to solve the issues facing our state government. Steve Levy is not just making this a campaign issue, he is willing to take this to the State House and push for real reform to protect the taxpayers and those who want their pensions to be solid.
Mr. Levy outlined his plan in letter to the Main Street Journal. He wants to convert the current pension plan “from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan for all new employees.” He also suggests, “We need to raise the retirement age, use a longer average salary period, and cap annual benefits at $75,000. Elected officials should be eliminated from the plan altogether.” This is not an easy position to take in an election year, when a representative needs union votes to be elected. However, more people are taking an adult view of the world. They want representatives to tell the truth about the future of their benefits, not someone who makes vague promises that are not sustainable. People may not like the changes, but the alternative of no pension is also not one most are willing to accept. Only by electing a representative who is willing to start the conversation is there any hope that the problem will be resolved.
Ms. Gregoire has mentioned the issue of pension reform. Unlike Mr. Levy, she has not outlined a plan for public viewing and has not taken any legislative action during her time in office. One can understand that with a strong reliance on union voters it would be a tough issue for her to champion. However, all voters understand the dangers involved in not fixing the pension system regardless of their future pension status. Ms. Gregoire seems unable to do more than comment on the need for change. Having a plan and being willing to commit to it takes courage. Voters need to decide if they want a candidate who is serious about reforming pensions or someone who will continue to ignore the problem until a crisis hits for taxpayers and those dependent on pensions.
Danielle Gregoire “Facing the Fiscal Challenge” Main Street Journal
Danielle Gregoire “In Support of the Casino Bill” Main Street Journal
Steven Levy “There is Plenty of Room To Cut” Main Street Journal