I am a cartographer in the Results and Information Office at the Maine Department of Transportation. My job helps streamline processes that will make our work faster, more cost-effective and of better quality.

My immediate concern is legislation that would require public employees to pay an additional 2 percent toward our retirement pensions to be taken from our paychecks.

How would private-sector employees feel about paying an additional 2 percent from their paychecks to Social Security?

Our retirement plan, the Maine Public Employee Retirement System, also known as MePERS, is the equivalent of Social Security for state employees.

We are not eligible for Social Security. State workers already pay more for our retirement plan than those who are eligible for Social Security.

An individual contributes 6.2 percent of their pay to Social Security for the first $102,000 of income. The great majority of public employees make far less than that, but we contribute 7.65 percent of our pay toward our retirement; the new legislation would raise that to 9.65 percent.

Meanwhile, the state of Maine would reduce its contribution by a similar percentage to about half of the employee’s contribution to MePERS.

What would private-sector employees do if Social Security flipped its numbers in the same way? Wouldn’t they feel the system was being rigged against them?

Patrick Johnson


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