Maple Ridge should change pensions

The district participates in the Municipal Pension Plan (MPP), set-up to administer the pensions of district employees across B.C.

Editor, The News:

Re: Polite letter about MP pensions OK’d (The News, Sept. 5).

It is amusing that the city suggests that MPs should reform their pensions.

Maple Ridge has a pension crisis of its own and should be looking at changing the district’s pension plan, as well.

The district participates in the Municipal Pension Plan (MPP), set-up to administer the pensions of district employees across B.C.

Maple Ridge funded $2,360,765 in the plan last year, up from $1,266,984 in 2006.

MPP itself has a $2 billion accounting shortfall, and last year citizens in B.C. pumped $651 million into the plan, up from $522 million in 2007.

Contributions are going to have to rise substantially to pay the accounting shortfall on the plan.

The pensions being paid out to employees at the district will be astronomical.

For example, top employees earning more than $200,000 a year, and if they are members of the Supplemental Nenefits Account, will get 70 per cent of this salary in pension income when they retire.

Employees retiring on a fully qualified pension are now getting an average of $48,600 the first year and this will be topped up by CPP or another $11,800 for a first year average pension income of $60,400.

This starts at an average age of 58 and will be indexed and paid out for almost 30 years.

The pension will pay in excess of $1.5 million over the course of retirement.

The average taxpayer in Maple Ridge, on the other hand, will have an RRSP worth about $60,000 when they hit age 65. This will be gone in a few short years.

Top three salaries in Maple Ridge:

• $236,907;

• $194,681;

• $185,503.

There is a problem with pensions at all levels of government. They are no longer sustainable and need fundamental changes.

Let hope that the next time the district sends out a letter to MPs, it has have its own problem fixed.

Bill Tufts

Fair Pensions For All

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