Tens of hundreds of state pensions of as much as $350,000 a yr are straining the retirement system, forcing the Legislature to ask taxpayers for more money to keep the system afloat.
A staggering 1,000-plus retirees earned $one hundred,000 or extra in pension pay last yr — with former troopers, judges, provosts and faculty superintendents leading the best way — with the entire pension-fund legal responsibility at a finances-busting $5.21 billion.
It’s a development one watchdog stated is heading into the danger zone.
“These pensions are putting an unlimited burden on the state finances,” stated Greg Sullivan, a former state inspector common now with the Pioneer Institute. “It’s taking away cash we’d like for roads, bridges and to fix the MBTA.”
Sullivan stated the cost of footing the invoice for these golden years has “skyrocketed” — forcing the state Legislature to pump $2.4 billion into that price range in 2018. He warned that the tab for this legal responsibility will climb to $11 billion by 2033.
“That is such a significant issue,” Sullivan added, “it’s turn into virtually unrealistic.”
The 124,000-plus pension payouts studied by the Herald present former provosts, professors, prosecutors, academics, social staff, toll collectors and jail guards amassing hefty checks:
- Two former UMass Medical junior chancellors pulled down $347,000 and $338,000, respectively, last yr. Each retired lately.
- Ten retirees have been close behind at greater than $200,000 every final yr, together with William “Billy” Bulger, the brother of slain Southie mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. The former UMass president and onetime state Senate president took house $201,656 final yr.
- One man who retired in 1953 from “state service” was listed as accumulating $12,200 final yr. Others left state work in the Nineteen Sixties, ’70s and ’80s and are still accumulating checks.
- Most retired public faculty academics have been paid about $50,000 final yr, but the prime earner in this category chalked up $149,000.
- Faculty superintendents and academics from Athol to Wrentham had annual pensions of $209,000 to $400. (That was a instructor on Nantucket.)
- Retired toll collectors, who had their jobs eliminated as a consequence of digital tolling, clocked in at $61,000 and $56,000 a yr, on the high aspect, to $9,959 in the sluggish lane.
Sullivan, who collects a $ninety one,000 annual pension for his stint as an inspector basic, stated the offender is the state’s growing payroll.
Because the Herald reported this week, the state payroll for 2018 was $7.74 billion. That figure has climbed 23 % over the previous five years. But the median family revenue for Massachusetts residents has gone up solely 15 % to $73,227 over the identical interval.
Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration stated a timeline has been set to get the pension system beneath management, but it can take years.
“The Baker-Polito Administration has made progress to pay down the commonwealth’s long-time period obligations just like the unfunded pension legal responsibility. Underneath the present statutory funding schedule the final amortization cost can be made in fiscal 2036, four years earlier than the statutory requirement,” stated Julie Mehegan, spokeswoman for the Government Workplace for Administration and Finance.
Till then, retired parole officers, jail guards, librarians, chauffeurs and janitors will need the Legislature to keep the funds coming.