Mar 222012

With 30 years of service, most employees of Washington state can retire with full defined-benefit pension benefits at age 62. Given today’s life expectancies and low investment returns, this places an enormous burden on taxpayers, most of whom don’t have the luxury of defined-benefit plans.

Republicans in the Washington State Legislature are trying to eliminate this early-retirement-with-full benefits option. Not surprisingly, public-sector unions have their backs up; they accuse Republicans of waging a “war on workers.”

What caught my eye in a Seattle Times article March 21 was a frank admission from a Washington legislator about the power of union money in Olympia.

Rep. Deb Eddy a Kirkland Democrat who goes against the grain by favoring the reform, told the Times that the reform isn’t going anywhere in part because both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office are controlled by Democrats. About union power, Eddy was quoted as follows:

They [unions] are not only important constituents, they’re important campaign funders. This is the worst-kept secret in politics. We’re not supposed to acknowledge it, but it’s there.

It won’t surprise you to know that Rep Eddy is not running for re-election.

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