Columbus Consolidated Government employees and prison laborers are both getting a bad deal

The following is a letter SARN Board Chair Theresa El-Amin published in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on April 30, 2014 by

Interesting that Mayor Tomlinson disclosed the employee pension plan is only 88% funded during the televised debate with Colin Martin on April 21. Granted, 88% is better than the 72% I heard in 2012 when the 15-year clock started ticking. She also mentioned that employees received raises to offset the 4% payment they are required to make into the pension. New employees would pay 8% into the plan. With the hiring freeze and a raise to current employees, how did the plan get from 72% to 88% funded? Columbus Consolidated Government has until 2027 to bring the pension plan to 100% funded. It’s a bit too soon for Mayor Tomlinson to make promises others will have to keep.

The finances of Columbus Consolidated Government become more mysterious day-by-day. Both candidates are pandering to property tax protesters. Colin Martin couldn’t flip fast enough from his earlier position indicating dependence on the regressive Local Option Sales Taxes (LOST) and that home improvements could yield higher property taxes. On April 21, Colin Martin declared to property owners that their “property tax freeze” is safe with him.

Beyond the cosmetic picture of pet adoptions, white water rafting and the natatorium is dependence on free prison labor, murder rate at 3 per month, a $6.5 million deficit, unfair taxation and poverty that is a nightmare for many citizens in Columbus.

The Mayor’s Commission on Unity, Diversity, and Prosperity held a conference on March 20. 2014 titled The Dream Lives: A Wake-up Call, Perpetuating the Dream in a Climate of Haves and Have Nots.

Who needs to wake up? Where are the investigative reporters when we need them?

Theresa El-Amin