An­other dis­ap­point­ing bud­get for pen­sion­ers

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH - BY STEVE BARTLETT

It was an­other bud­get and an­other dis­ap­point­ment for pub­lic ser­vice pen­sion­ers.

The more than 5,000 of them have been ask­ing the prov­ince to help for years.

They want a num­ber of things, but hav­ing their pen­sions in­dexed to the cost of liv­ing is their main fo­cus.

There was no such as­sis­tance in this year’s fis­cal plan.

That’s un­for­tu­nate, said Robert Lang­don of the New­found­land and Labrador Pub­lic Sec­tor Pen­sion­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

He be­lieves the amount of money they are talk­ing about on an an­nual ba­sis is a pal­try sum when the bud­get is nearly $7 bil­lion.

“ The amount we are looking for is very small and I can’t be­lieve it’s an eco­nomic or a fi­nan­cial is­sue,” Lang­don said in the Con­fed­er­a­tion Build­ing lobby.

“It’s must be a po­lit­i­cal thing, and I don’t un­der­stand that.”

Asked by re­porters about the plight of pub­lic ser­vice pen­sion­ers, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tom Mar­shall pointed to the tax breaks in the bud­get for se­niors.

He noted most re­tirees in the prov­ince don’t have pen­sions from their for­mer em­ploy­ers, but the mem­bers of Lang­don’s group have pen­sions and are get­ting ex­actly what their plans said they would.

Lang­don ac­knowl­edged the tax breaks, but was unim­pressed with the lack of at­ten­tion again this year.

“ What the min­is­ter has con­tin­u­ously done is mixed in the is­sue of for­mer em­ploy­ees of gov­ern­ment, vis-à-vis pen­sion is­sues, with ben­e­fits for se­niors,” he said.

“Of course, gov­ern­ment should al­ways do things for se­niors, but when it comes to the is­sue that we’re talk­ing about, it’s the ac­tions and de­ci­sions of gov­ern­ments which af­fect the bot­tom line of our pen­sions. Noth­ing to do with any­thing else re­ally.”

Lang­don says his or­ga­ni­za­tion has been try­ing to get gov­ern­ment to ad­dress their con­cerns for two decades and it is still not close to giv­ing up.

“ The fight is just start­ing.”

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