Archive for October, 2012

A Morality Play

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

October 31, 23012

As I have watched the election season, it is like watching a morality play on a national stage. There are so many people and so many thoughts on what people consider important.

There are the single issue voters such as “It is the environment” or “abortion” or “jobs” or “the debt and deficit” or “terrorism”.  All of these are important issues. However to me the single most important issue is “character”.

The character of the candidates is important. However the American people have little faith in the (more…)

Raise Taxes Or Cut Expenses

Monday, October 29th, 2012

October 29, 2012

On the local November 6th ballot there are two proposals for raising taxes.

The City is asking voters to approve a one cent tax hike on every gallon of gas for MATA funding.

Instead of paying $3.46 a gallon you would pay $3.47.

What is the financial situation of MATA? Yes MATA is subsidized by user fees, federal and state grants and the City of Memphis. MATA has the authority to supervise the operations of the City’s transit system. This system (more…)

The Legacy Of Jimmy Carter

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

 October 25, 2012

There is the old saying that states “We are the Federal government and we are here to help.”

If there ever were good reasons to vote for smaller government, here are prime examples. We need to do away with these two federal departments which are examples of waste caused by big government.

The Department of Energy was formed after the oil crisis on August 4, 1977 in order to end the United States dependence on foreign oil by President Jimmy Carter’s signing of legislation, The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-91, 91 (more…)

Out Of The Box Thinking On Pensions

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Pensions-Public Versus Private

The upcoming national election will have a profound effect on pensions and the responsibility for financing a person’s retirement.

The private sector, which employs the majority of Americans, has already decided that a pension for their employees is a combination of social security plus a 401K plan with the employee and the employer contributing to the plan plus what the (more…)

Working The Pension System

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

October 16, 2012

Nobody is better at working the system to their benefit than those inside the system. This is certainly true for Memphis and the MLGW.

Recently I attended a MLGW pension board meeting and as they read the agenda and approved pension requests one (more…)

TVA and MLGW

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

October 11, 2012

There was an interesting article in the CA last Monday, October 8, 2012. The title was “TVA shortfall proves costly to ratepayers”.

Our local electric power comes mainly from TVA and here we have a template for what is happening at the MLGW. Salaries, benefits (healthcare, vacations, sick days, etc.) pensions and OPEB (retiree health care) come mainly from the rate payers plus employee contributions. Contrast this with the City of Memphis and Shelby County which is mainly financed by property taxes and sales taxes. The difference is that TVA and MLGW salaries and benefits are hidden in your utility bills and as long as electricity, gas and water rates stay reasonably level, you don’t complain too much. On the other hand, when property taxes are raised, the tax payers get mad and rightly so.

Now suppose two things happen. One is another 2008 financial debacle and the other is rising energy rates. Both of these could happen if the national government decides to go all green as the administration wants to do. (“Under my cap and trade plan, electric rates would naturally rise astronomically”).

Change is coming as the national level of political promises made by politicians in the form of public pensions and health care promises are unsustainable and we are seeing states, cities and counties struggle to pay the bills for the promises and continue the needed level of fire, police, education and public services needed for a civil society. The sooner we face up to these problems and come to a joint agreeable solution, the better our future will be.

 

 

 

Proposed MLGW Pension Changes

Monday, October 8th, 2012

October 8, 2012

At the MLGW pension board meeting on October 4th 2012, there finally was a proposed change to the pension system at the MLGW. I have been pushing for changes for some time and here is what they finally proposed as shown on the attached document.

Option 1- They are proposing to change the 25 years and out, regardless of age retirement rule, to 55 years old and 25 years of service (more…)

Here Comes The 2013 MLGW Budget

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

October 4, 2012

Today, the MLGW board of commissioners will receive the 2013 MLGW proposed budget. I have not seen it yet even though I asked for it. This budget will be reviewed by the MLGW Board and eventually sent to the City Council for review and approval.

(more…)