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Ohio legislators need to monitor double dipping

January 11, 2012
Salem News

In many states, including Ohio, state employees who retire and collect pensions are not permitted to "double dip." Should they decide to go back to work in the public sector, their pension benefits are reduced.

That is not the case in Ohio. There, retirees - including some very well compensated ones - are not penalized if they get back on the public payroll.

One example is William G. Batchelder, who is speaker of the state House of Representatives. Batchelder served more than three decades as a legislator, then left and became a judge. Now he's back in the Statehouse, collecting both a salary of $94,000 and a pension topping $100,000 a year.

Batchelder may be the most prominent double dipper, but he is far from the only one. For years, many public employees have been able to retire in the mid-50s, start collecting pensions, then go back to work while still in the prime of life and enjoy double income through salaries. You very well may know some. Or, in fact, be one.

Were the situation in the private sector, Ohio taxpayers would have no cause for complaint. But because public employee pensions and other retirement benefits are subsidized heavily by taxpayers, they have a right to demand double dipping come to an end. In effect, hard-working Buckeye State residents are paying some employees twice - and that simply isn't fair. With both state and many local governments in deep fiscal trouble, it isn't smart, either.

Ohio legislators should place at least some limits on double dipping. Just don't look for the initiative to start in the speaker of the House's office.



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