Unneeded pension provision

With respect to the work of Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans, the Summit County Retired Teachers Association (SCRTA) agrees with the Beacon Journal’s support for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Butch Lewis Act, which would make low-interest, long-term loans available to failing private pension plans (“How to rescue troubled pensions,” Sept. 14.)

As noted in the editorial, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recognizes that such loans offer protections to taxpayers, communities and pensioners for whom severe cuts in benefits would be devastating.

Unfortunately, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican, and his allies have elected to interfere with the select committee by attempting to piggy-back Nunes’ House Resolution 6290 — the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act — on the committee’s important work. Individual states are responsible for overseeing their public pension plans. Nunes’ plan, which has failed in prior congressional sessions, would enact costly and duplicative federal reporting requirements already required of public plans in Ohio and other states.

More important, under Nunes’ plan, state pension systems would be required to report actuarial liabilities based on return rates of virtually risk-free investments such as U.S. Treasury notes. Returns on these investments are typically well below those projected by pension plan financial consultants. Needless to say, any federal mandate limiting public pension plans in this manner would adversely affect the financial health of those plans and the benefits they offer their members.

The select committee was formed to address private multiemployer pension plans, not public plans. Ohio’s public pension plans are well-run, in great shape and accountable to the state. SCRTA opposes Nunes’ efforts to distract the committee from its important work.

Bill Siegferth

2nd Vice President, Legislative chair

Summit County Retired Teachers Association

Cuyahoga Falls

 

Harmful to immigrants

No one should ever have to choose between seeking medical care and staying in this country. But that is exactly the situation many people will find themselves in if proposed changes to U.S. immigration policy are permitted to proceed.

According to the Department of Homeland Security proposal, people can be denied permanent residency if they have been a recipient of Medicaid, SNAP (formerly food stamps), federal housing assistance or other anti-poverty programs. This is just plain wrong.

I hope members of Congress will stand up against any policy changes that cut families off from medical care and nutrition and housing assistance.

Bruce Cratty, Akron

 

Make a statement: Vote

On Sept. 17, which was both Citizenship Day and the start of Constitution Week, I joined in the celebration welcoming 51 immigrants who became naturalized citizens. The ceremony at the Akron-Summit County Main Library auditorium was inspirational from its beginning (I haven't recited the Pledge of Allegiance for 50 years). Remarks from local officials before the swearing-in were brief and to the point. Many of the speakers shared their own immigration experiences or those of their parents or grandparents. All emphasized the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The importance of voting was mentioned a dozen times.

The closing words of the program were: "Get out there and register to vote." The Daughters of the American Revolution sat at a table in the lobby after the program where they registered the new Americans to vote.

Voting is both a right and a responsibility. The deadline for registering to vote is Oct. 9 and early voting and absentee voting start the day after. MyOhioVote.com redirects you to Ohio's one-stop place for voting information. There you can check on your registration status, update your address, register online, find your polling place and much more.

Voting is the way we make our opinions known to our government leaders. Don't waste this opportunity to send a message. Register and vote.

Martha Geroch, Akron