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$24 billion budget shortfall could hurt retirement plans

READ MORE: $24 billion budget shortfall could hurt retirement plans
RALEIGH -- Ask state employees, and they'll tell you one of the most popular reasons to work for the government is a well-funded retirement package that includes health care. But the state retirement package has not been fully funded. And that could mean higher expenses for state retirees. North Carolina's health coverage budget is short almost $24 billion, and fixing it could cost state employees who are soon retiring, and all of North Carolina's taxpayers. Financial planner Ross Marino says the state lost the benefit funds using a pay-as-you-go process. Marino said, "Meaning, whatever money they need this year they take out of the budget and that's fine for this year, however, they're going to need a lot more money next year and they haven't set aside the money to do that." Marino says there are two options to make up for the $24 billion: raise taxes or reduce benefits for state employees. "You charge them money to pay for their premiums, something they were not told they would be doing in retirement," Marino said. Teacher Sally Meserole said, "That's why you kept working for 30 years, was to get that good health benefit for retirement." Meserole, a teacher at Myrtle Grove Middle School, is two years away from retirement. For 29 years she has been counting on her state pension plan to pay for health insurance during retirement. Without those funds Meserole will have to make cutbacks from her retirement funds. "There won't be any traveling," she said. "It would impact my lifestyle plan." On the other end of the spectrum is Meserole's coworker Blair Struble. This is Struble's second year teaching, but news of the budget shortfall for state employees' retirement health benefits is making her weary of her financial future. Struble said, "Nervous, I mean, when you're promised something that might not actually be there, makes me think a lot about how am I going to handle my life plans now if that is not going to be there when I thought it would be." Marino says it's likely the state will raise taxes and make retirees pay for premiums. He also says it could be two years before the impact of the budget shortfall is felt.
For more information visit the John W. Pop Civitas Institute web site.

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mike easley, bev purdue,

mike easley, bev purdue, richard moore ,and 1/2 to 2/3 of state legislaters is why money in state budget is gone ,call and thank them for doing it. i think they should be brought up on charges for mis-handling state funds and not accounting for it, but they probally cover their tracks real good though.....

I would like to understand

I would like to understand why no other media outlets are covering this issue? I looked at the source for this report...this is a highly conservative think tank who basically wants all state retirement benefits to disappear in order to lower taxes. This organization also sounds like the John Locke Foundation...another conservative think tank that constantly complains about state government, wasteful spending, etc. Wasteful spending starts the moment you elect a person into office. People mortgage their ethics to get elected. They raise money by making promises, regardless of their party affiliation, and then bring back pork home. If you want taxes lowered, then EVERYBODY must stop making promises. Being that isn't going to happen anytime soon, do away with political parties period. The state's retirement system is a benefit that employees are promised to receive. They should still get it. If it's the contract, then you get it.

State benefits

How about the state keeps their word to the hard working employee's that made it to retirement and we take away benefits for the lay about welfare recipients to make up for the loss??? Gee what an idea.

NC State Money Shortfall YOU BET

What did you expect when so many people are on the "dole" and liberals think it's just perfect to include illegals on every single "giveaway" program we have. Our state and national gov. is so broken, yet keeps finding more "non-givers" to be "getters"! What did anyone think the outcome would be? Duh! And more of this is coming, folks. Get used to it!

Billions Short on Funds

Well, now New Hanaover County shouldn't feel so bad for having their millions of dollars shortfall ...Couonty is short on funds, City of Wilmington is short on fund, and the State is now short on fund. Is this a nighmare...can't possibly be real!

Budget shortfall

Welcome to the real world folks! Now you know how the people in private sector feel when their retirement gets pulled out from under them. I feel for you, but in the private sector there used to be guarantees for retirement and health insurance, but look at all of the companies that have reneged on those guarantee with the help of our government to boot and you guys honestly thought you were immune????? For all of you bleeding hearts that bent over backwards to award these illegal immigrants benefits because of their illegal brats being born in the US, therefore allowing them access to SS, Medicare, foodstamps etc. pat yourselves on the back for helping these retirees having to lower their lifestyle and standard of living to accomadate the illegls. If you vote for Hillary or Obama, expect even more catering towards the illegal immigrants, because they sure are kissing up to them out there on the campaign trail.

Well Republicans were in

Well Republicans were in charge of both the Whitehouse and Congress for six years and absolutly nothing happened concerning illegal immigration. So does it really matter which person is elected in Washington?

contact these jokesters

Please take the time to go online to and on the left, there's a link to "government officials". Expand the drop down bar, and write an email to everyone of these elected folks, and tell them how you feel! They work for you!

Employee Turn-Over

Employee Turn-Over will cost the state many times over the anticipated saving by altering the retirement promises made by the State. You can bet the State's bottom dollar that employees will seek employment else where if they cannot be guaranteed these benefits. I am one for sure! I'll will "cash out" upon my resigning and invest the proceeds, at least I'm in control of my retirement funds. The basic understating for working for the state is acceptance of low pay for good retirement benefits!!@#$%!! I'm sure every NC State employee witnesses a tremendous amount of waste EVERYDAY that could easily be cut if there were any leaders with a spine and were willing to put the State's well being before the own selfish personal interests. The state needs leaders that will serve the State not themselves....raising taxes will only hurt the overall micro economies. Cutting all of the bureaucratic waste is the only solution.


in H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS do you come out 24 BILLION in the negative. We have some REAL winners running our State Government ladies and gentlemen. I don't think they even KNOW what a budget is. IF they do, they sure don't know what one is used for. My 5 year old is better at math than these CLOWNS. Ladies and gentlemen. THIS is what happens when you let career politicians run our State and Government. They get up there and they just do what they want without regard to the money coming in. It is happening at the State AND Federal levels. MASS WASTE of our money. That is why taxes were such a bad thing when this country was founded. The GREED is just to great and they keep wanting MORE and MORE and MORE. We as a people once marched over a 1 CENT tax increase and government officials LISTENED. NOW we just sit and take it. I ALMOST went to work for the State a few years ago....I am SO glad I didn't. The pay and benefits SUCKED. Let the Democrats get in the White ain't seen NUTHIN yet! I don't agree with a LOT of things that have happened up there over the last 8 years, but it isn't anything compared to what the Democrats can do.

A real Farce

Remember the old saying, two things for sure: 1) Death; 2) Taxes...? I used to believe that. But it doesn't apply to the illegals taking our jobs, and not paying into the system - yet allowed to take it from the system. It's not just about illegals & their lack of contributions... it's even more about the hooligans managing our future. They are supposed to WORK FOR US... not against us. There are some serious things wrong currently.

State Benifits

I have worked for the State for over 31 years and looking at retirement. During this time I have seen many tracking system to keep the employee in line so they do not cheat the "Government". I do not understand how this State Plan is so screwed up. We hire professional to come in and tell us what is wronge and how to corrected it. They get there money then they are gone after things start falling apart again. We hire someone new to start the process over. What about the Lottery????? How hard was this pushed. How it was going to help the School Systems. But we now find out it can only be used in certain area. Not like the big sale pitch . I think we better look hard at losing our staff and worker. Most are here because of the benifits and after you been here for a while you fill like a owner not just a hired person to do a job. In the last years I have seen workers hired, with very few of them looking to be owners and decicate to the cause of what is best for the system. I gave up high paying job so I could give back something to my community. But I did not mind as bad because I was promissed and in some cases preach to about the retirement plan. In the passed a man word alone built Governments, Towns, States and you did not have be concerned with the out come because his word was a bond. Today is totally differant. Just look at the Lawers in the yellow pages. It is all about interputing a man word. Who do you believe? Why should I do my best? These people only care about themself? No wonder the State system is screwed up, we have created the type of thinking. I will adapt but will my grandchild children. Thanks'for letting me vent. Jimmy

They took our retirement

They took our retirement money to use elsewhere - then never replaced it. State employees salaries are far below those of the private sector - and now after we work for this great State of NC for years they want to take away our retirement. How about the officials - is their retirement going to be affected - I DOUBT IT!!!! Just keep raising our taxes, local taxes, gas taxes and noone will be able to afford to live in NC.

Budget Shortfall

Once again, all government employees will have to take one for the "team". Since 2001 when the first budget theft occurred, all employees in the governmental sector have lost ground by not being able to keep basic benefits and those being paid for to an affordable minimum. How much more can the employees have taken from them and their checks. We have sold this State out and not prepared for the future by being budget savy. I for one cannot afford to retire unitl I am 70 if my health holds out and if it does not, then I guess I will go on "the system" and let Uncle Sam take care of me. God help our State and local government employees while they try to serve the population.

State Budget Shortfall

Just remember North Carolina, we sent the leaders who caused this mishandling and mismanaging of tax funds to Raleigh in the first place. These representatives are elected by the voters of our state. If these leaders are there to represent our best interests. Well, then who is to blame? Citizens need to keep up with what's going on in government. They absolutely need to watch the state coffers. And most importantly, citizens need to hold their elected officials accountable. Problem Solved!

Just brilliant math on the

Just brilliant math on the part of the "ME" generation. The me's cared only about themselves and could care less about future generations. Congrats.

And cash employees?

Another example of the gov't in control of our destiny! Did you read the article? ... no plan for saving or 'rainy day account'. My prediction is N.C. citizens will just sigh and take it once again. I bet the tax increase won't effect the cash payed illegals & the like... and that's not fair, and it's really unAmerican. The citizens of this State deserve better leaders & planners. I'd vote for federalists, torys & whigs before voting for the current jokesters of today!

Politicians ignore the third option

CUT SPENDING!!!!! No...they could never do that...could they? Just look at the state budget from a few years ago when we were so broke that Ali-Baba Easley was looting the money collected from you as taxes to fund the 911 system and using it to fund local art councils. Some county 911 centers were using consoles that were ten years out of date, but the North Carolina Symphony received their funding. Now, I enjoy Beethoven more than most, but I think I'd rather know that someone was coming quickly when I dialed 911 than to hear a live performance of Wellington's Victory. Invariably the politicians will talk about cutting benefits for the state employees....or raising taxes on everyone....but never will they consider tightening the belt and stopping all funding to non-essential services...or, even more importantly, cutting benefits to the NON-productive members of society who are sucking the system dry. Time for the second revolution, and I'm not talking about that nutjob Ron Paul. Our governments, both federal and most states have become more tyrannical than British Parliament could have ever dreamed up. Time for the taxpayers to "just say no" in November. Throw them ALL out.

Are you kidding?

After all the tax increases, the state is broke? The reasons have to include the following: 1) Illegals not paying income tax; 2) The gov't out of control. I hate to say it, but we're losing our country!

Budget shortfall my butt

These tax and spend politicians have a spending problem. Cut out the waste and corruption and the problem will be solved.

I've been a state employee

I've been a state employee for twenty years. I left a better paying job for the security of this one. I've had several years of no raises when the economy was bad but I stayed. I've seen our upper management have a different system and not pay into this system (EPA vs SPA state employees). Now, getting close to retirement they tell me that those insurance benefits will NOT be included. I've paid 6% of my gross salary for twenty years into this system. I will be looking at my options to draw my entire retirement OUT of this system when I leave, and I'm sure many other state workers will. This will hurt the pension system even more. I'm pissed---the joke's on ME! At least I have a job, low paying, low morale, no future, but I can always eat dog food or maybe the Chancellor will throw out some nice scraps and I can raid her DUMPSTER.