Opposition is mounting on a bill that seeks to boost pension payouts for public employees who went to work throughout the pandemic at the expense of billions to taxpayers despite widespread support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
The Pioneer Institute, a government watchdog, sounded the alarm with a public statement that estimates the cost of the “broadly” worded bill “would be in the billions of dollars.”
The bill would let public workers cash in on three extra years of service for their pensions when they retire if they worked — or volunteered to work — outside their home anytime between March 10 and Dec. 31 of last year, according to the legislation filed by state Rep. Jonathan Zlotnik, D-Gardner, and Sen. John Velis, D-Westfield. Sen. Nick Collins, D-Boston, filed a companion bill in the Senate.
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance spokesman Paul Diego Craney echoed Pioneer’s concerns, saying lawmakers “are attempting to boost some of their own pensions in a bill framed as crediting essential workers that risked their health in the earlier days of the pandemic.”
The bill has gained the signatures of more than 100 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.
Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons also denounced the proposal on Monday, calling it a “slap in the face” to anyone who lost their job or their livelihood due to COVID-19 emergency regulations.
Author(s): ERIN TIERNAN
Publication Date: 26 July 2021
Publication Site: Boston Herald