EXCLUSIVE: Stemerman On His Plan to “Save Our Children’s Future,” and On the CTGOP ConventionApril 11, 2018
Gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman talks to Reclaim Connecticut about a plan he released last week to rescue the state's pension and benefits systems.
This “is a plan to save our retiree benefit plans, to save our taxpayers, and to save our children’s future,” businessman and GOP gubernatorial candidate David Stemerman said on Tuesday.
It “addresses the looming fiscal crisis that is threatening our state, threatening our families, threatening our jobs,” Stemerman added, and “address[es] head on a truth that career politicians and insiders have been unwilling to confront.”
Stemerman spoke to Reclaim Connecticut on Tuesday, about his plan released last week that seeks to rescue the state’s pension and benefits systems from insolvency.
“What the career politicians have been unwilling to say is the state does not have the money … to pay all of those benefits” promised to state employees, Stemerman told Reclaim Connecticut.
“They have made promises they cannot keep.”
Citing the underfunded status of Connecticut’s state employee retirement system – it’s only funded at 29 percent – Stemerman walked through his plan to rescue state retirees, workers, and taxpayers.
“The first idea is that we’re going to create an independent trust that is going to manage the retirement benefits for employees and retirees that have been earned to date,” Stemermand said.
That includes “offering a final settlement for all of those accumulated benefits to our employees.”
“Going forward,” Stemerman added, “we’re going to offer [state employees] a choice.” That choice? Defined contribution or defined benefit, but the taxpayer contribution to that benefit is capped.
“The total amount that we’re going to contribute is going to be capped by an amount that’s sustainable for the budget,” Stemerman said.
GOV VS. UNIONS
Asked how Stemerman will bring along powerful state employee unions, Stemerman suggested educating state employees and negotiating a settlement with them are key.
“Anytime that you have a situation like this, the best outcome is to reach a negotiated settlement,” Stemerman said. “I look to grow consensus by first having the state employees and retirees understand that the money is not there to support the promises that have been made to them.”
A key part of Stemerman’s plan is the offer of a lump sum payment to state employees, to rid the state of annual, growing pension contributions.
“The idea here is to get the state out of what has been a losing battle to meet the underfunded status year after year, which is what is causing the budget deficit to balloon,” Stemerman said.
He would seek to “reach an agreement with the state employees and retirees on how much the state can afford to contribute on a sustainable basis.”
“Instead of this having to be an annual struggle,” Stemerman argued, “we’re gonna make this as a one-time contribution.”
Stemerman suggested there’s precedent for his plan in the private sector.
“This is novel in the public sector,” Stemeran said, but “this has been going on for decades in the private sector.”
ABOUT THE CONVENTION…
Last week, businessman and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski announced he will skip the May state convention and petition his way on to the primary ballot.
.@Reclaim_CT I believe we will have a stonger nominee if all of the over 450,000 Republicans in CT are involved in choosing their standard bearer.
— Bob Stefanowski (@bobforgovernor) April 4, 2018
Reclaim Connecticut asked Stemerman if he will be doing the same.
“I’ll reiterate the answer I gave you a few weeks ago,” Stemerman said, which was, in effect, that he’ll be on the August primary ballot one way or another.
Stemerman also stressed that he believes he has the best campaign team around, citing former Chris Christie strategists Mike DuHaime and Russ Schriefer.
“So we’re very pleased with those being additions to our team, so that the message we are putting forward is one that can resonate with the voters and lead to a successful primary and general,” Stemerman concluded.
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