If I might paraphrase Shakespeare's King Richard III :

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"Was ever a voter  in this humour woo'd?
Was ever voter  in this humour won?"
King Richard III- 227-228

 

The Players:

 

Here's Richard III High School Annual Picture.

 

Hey folks, I'm not taking sides in the issue of the government when it comes to education or pension reform. For one thing, as my friend Tod Ardoin oft wisely states, " I don'[t have a dog in this hunt". Secondly, and perhaps most importantly , I certainly don't know the particulars of either bit of legislation.

I do know one thing about politics and that is that really popular politicians very seldom have their name closely linked  with the phrase "recall petition."

One would think that while still stewing in the pot of controversy, the governor would say to himself, " Note to self: " Making everyone angry is a poor re- election campaign platform".  No such Post-It-Note seems to be in the making either. Next up in the barrel: State Workers and their Pensions...What could go wrong there?

 

With one battle largely behind him and fuming teachers and union leaders considering court challenges, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal now shifts his focus to a different group of angry people: state employees.

The governor's plan to revamp the pension plans (read:  increase payment/reduce benefits) is being met with the same resounding "No, thanks" that greeted the education reform.  A sure sign that revamping isn't "improving" is the number of workers who want to end the bill in the legislature.

Since we started with a quote from Richard III, let's bring in another player..House Speaker Chuck Kleckley. We will refer to him as "Buckingham". Also go back to the earlier reference to "Popular politicians to recall petition" ratio.

According to Buckingham...Uh, Kleckley,

"I still think there's still the energy there to do something with pensions. Whether we do what was proposed at the beginning of session is another question,"

Neither retirement committee in the House or Senate has scheduled hearings on the measures. The House took the lead on the controversial Jindal education measures, so the Senate is being asked to start the retirement proposals.

The governor wants to increase the contribution rate charged to state workers and higher education employees for their retirement from 8 percent to 11 percent of their pay.

He also wants to push back the retirement age to 67 for a person to receive full benefits, to calculate the monthly retirement payment on an employee's last five years of salary instead of the current three years and to create a cheaper type of pension plan for new employees.

The proposals wouldn't apply to public school teachers and law enforcement workers. And if state workers weren't angry enough, Jindal managed to dredge up more fury by not initially including himself in the 3 percentage point increase that boosts employee costs for their retirement benefits.