MaineOpenGov.Org Updates Detail Maine’s $15.4 Billion Current Retiree Pension Burden
The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) held a press conference in Brewer today to unveil new updates to its transparency Web site MaineOpenGov.org. Now featuring retirement pension data for the 25,727 current Maine state and local government retirees, the updates allow taxpayers to finally understand and personalize Maine’s government pension challenges, and their impact on Maine families.
The 25,000-plus individuals currently enrolled in the Maine Public Employees Retirement System will received a combined $15,383,315,649—an amount equivalent to $11,834 for every man, woman and child in Maine. Of that nearly $15.4 billion total, retirees have paid in a combined $882,274,785—less than six percent of the total pension cost.
On average, for every $1.00 withheld for their paycheck while working, government retirees will get back $17.00 in lifetime pension benefits. For some government retirees, for every $1.00 paid into the retirement system, they will get back more than $300.00.
“For decades, we have been hearing how politicians have made promises to those retiring from government,” said MHPC Chief Executive Officer Tarren Bragdon. “Now, the taxpayer is on the hook to pay for those lofty, sometimes multi-million dollar, pension promises.”
Other facts presented in Brewer:
• 2,101 – number of government retirees set to receive lifetime pension benefits of $1 million or more
• 9,193 – number of government retirees set to receive lifetime pension benefit of $500,000 or more
• 50 percent – percent of current government retirees who worked for government 25 years or less
• 213 percent – increase in total pension payments since 1991 (from $165 million to $516 million)
• $916 million – taxpayers’ share of retiree costs for state employees and teachers in the first budget of the next governor
“The next governor and next Legislature face a critical decision,” Bragdon explained. “Do taxpayers continue paying these soaring costs—nearly $1 billion per budget, beginning next year—or do we diffuse the ticking time bomb by making changes to the current system to make it more affordable and fair for everyone?”
Now celebrating its second year, MaineOpenGov.org has opened government to Maine taxpayers by putting online government payroll for more than 90,000 public employees, billions in government payments to vendors and individuals, spending and salary data for the Maine Transportation Authority, a property tax calculator, and much more.
“We have added this additional data to MaineOpenGov.org for the same reason we created the site; to provide Maine citizens with a better understanding of how government spends their hard-earned tax dollars,” explained Sam Adolphsen, director of MHPC’s Center for Open Government. “We hope this new government retiree pension data will help folks better understand this important issue, and how it will affect them, their families and their wallets.”
Visit MaineOpenGov.org for more information.