Substantial hardship for seniors
Friday's Gazette provided information on the new government tax plan. Based on that information, it appears that medical deductions will be removed from the approved deduction allowed for taxpayers. This change would be a substantial hardship for senior citizens nationwide.
In my wife and my case, it would make our over $33,000 in medical expenses annually be treated as income. We are well into our 80s. This change would have a twofold effect. First, it would raise our reportable income into a higher tax bracket. Second, the loss of the deduction would increase our current tax bill by at least $4,000 if the current tax rates were applied.
Many seniors would be similarly affected. We all, for the most part, live on fixed incomes. Low interest rates on savings barely offset the current inflation rates. Medical expenses are increasing at double and in some cases, triple rates. Seniors suffer most from this situation since their medical needs increase with aging.
This loss of deduction should be tied to some control applied to the cost of medical services. Congress has failed to develop a plan to control medical costs and now they remove the benefits seniors have in the medical deductions Are they blind to the added cost imposed on seniors in this deduction change?
In recent calls by congressional fund solicitors, I tell them my donations will become effective when Congress is. I don't think that time will come soon.
Receiving the goodness of humanity
Recently, three adults were shot at a house party at Union and Vickers. That same night, three teenagers were shot - two of whom later died - at Albertacos, my favorite place to eat in this city. We didn't realize where the shootings had taken place until we pulled into the parking lot to eat lunch, only to find it converted into a crime scene.
Last Tuesday, while driving to yoga class at East Library, my van ran out of gas in the left turn lane at this same intersection. I knew it was close, but I was operating under the reckless economy of scarcity, tempting my luck every day, and my luck finally gave out.
At the same place where only three days prior, someone had demonstrated the worst of humanity, I received the best: not just a withholding of evil, but a pouring out of help, neither required or requested.
I didn't know anything about them. I still don't, except that her name is Faith and mine is Grace, they were taking their baby trick-or-treating with family. Her husband was handsome, and she had the most vibrant purple hair and matching eyebrows. He hooked my enormous G20 Chevy van to their brave little Dodge pickup and hauled me, including three stops to rehook the chain, through the intersection, across the street, through oncoming traffic, and into the safety of the kitty-corner parking lot.
I'm not the one who needs to receive the goodness of humanity the most. It wasn't me or my family or friends or loved ones or even acquaintances who were affected in the Saturday night shootings. But in the midst of a paucity of stories about how good people can be, these two showed me the best of what our kind has to offer, and I want to share it with everyone else in turn.
PERA management worked on issues
Concerning your editorial about PERA, please be aware that the leadership and administration of PERA are well aware of the financial challenges that this organizations faces. Your present and past editorials fail to mention the extensive work PERA does to deal with these issues; in fact, once again the organization has for several months traveled throughout the state to gather ideas at the ground-root level to discuss these issues openly and engage the members in suggesting solutions, including cutting back on benefits and self-imposing an increased contributions from their paychecks.
In addition, it is remarkable that all but one of the PERA board approved the plan developed by PERA management to deal with the issues. If this plan had bad parts to it, one would expect more of the board, an impressive group of citizens, and a diverse group also, would vote against it. Workers in the private sector tend to make quite a bit more salary, so they have resources to also work on a guaranteed retirement income. I had colleagues and friends in the private sector who made 50 to 100 percent more than I and certainly had more opportunity to build individual wealth. The public sector absolutely needs additional incentives for persons to join and stay in the public sector.
William I. Brown
Taxpayers shouldn't pay more for PERA
I appreciate Gov. John Hickenlooper standing up for the taxpayers in regard to making up for the shortfall in the PERA retirement system. I also realize his guidance will probably fall on deaf ears of the PERA board, and the Legislature.
We already pay over 20 percent of PERA's income, so those employed under the PERA system can retire at 100 percent of their pay, in some cases. How many other hardworking people get to retire at 100 percent of their pay? PERA has known for many years that their retirement system was in trouble from mismanagement and their high retirement pay, which has led to a low 58.1 percent funded liability. It wasn't until 2010 that they decided to make some changes in their system. However, the unfunded liability continues to decline, and they want the taxpayers to ante up another 2 percent to help fund their system.
A lot of taxpayers have a difficult time trying to save for their retirement and should not have kick in more money to help pay for state employees, and other retirements. Enough is enough!