Why Jason Carter is Wrong that Teachers’ Pensions Should Supply Funding for Risky Venture Start-Up Businesses

Today, 9/22/14, there has been an active discussion regarding why Jason Carter is wrong to support a law which would require that a percentage of retired teachers’ pensions funds be used to fund risky venture start-up businesses through their Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia funds, meant to give these elderly teachers financial security in their old age, as promised by the state of Georgia when they were beginning, young teachers.

If you wish to be fully informed on this issue, please read all of my remarks which run throughout this thread on Jim Galloway’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog (written by Greg Bluestein), as well as read all other comments in the link below:

http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/09/22/jason-carter-wants-teachers-pension-to-boost-startup-firms/

My thoughts on this issue:

“I was one of Jason Carter’s staunchest supporters. I am a native Georgian, a Democrat, and a retired public school teacher, after having served the public school children of Georgia for 35 years of my life.

I was appalled yesterday to learn that Jason Carter would help to enact a law which would take my TRS funds (hard earned funds that I, and many other teachers, contributed to the TRS for 30 or 40 years) to hand over to risky business start-up entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs of wannabee start-up businesses should save, themselves, to start their own risky business ventures. If the state of Georgia it is insistent upon giving these handouts to these entrepreneurs – practically all start- up businesses of years past in Georgia have had a record of failure – then it should find the money from other means to give to these risky business ventures than from the hard-earned money of worthy, elderly teachers through their TRS funds. There is good reason that 20 years ago the TRS broke from the state of Georgia. Politicians and politicians should stay out of my retirement funds.

Jason Carter, unless you change you position on this issue, I will vote for Nathan Deal, and not for you. This support from you to take money from the TRS makes you appear very politically self-serving and opportunistic – to this 72 year old retired teacher and educational leader in Georgia.”

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These remarks were posted on Facebook:

While we agree with you that no one needs to be changing TRS, Nathan Deal and some of the Legislators are planning a complete raid on the TRS. Hunter Hill (6th District – Cobb/Fulton) has Senate Resolution 782 sitting in committee after last years session. It would allow for a “study committee” of 17 people to looking into doing away with the defined benefit that has proven so important to Georgia teachers.

Moving away from a defined benefit to a contribution system would destroy TRS for future generations of children, and Deal would like nothing more than to be able to appoint the 17-member committee that would dismantle TRS.

We were heartened to hear Senator Carter clarify yesterday that he would make NO changes to TRS without the input and blessing of the teachers who would be affected.

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On reflection two days later:

Jay Bookman, columnist for the AJC wrote the following comments, in part, on his blog on the morning of September 24, 2014:

“I don’t buy all of his (Jason Carter’s) policy proposals — his recent call to use state pension funds as a source of venture capital, for example, is worrisome. Such a program offers a huge temptation for corruption, and nothing in Georgia’s good-ol-boy political culture nor in its system of ethics enforcement offers reassurance that the temptation could be avoided.
What Carter does offer is an understanding that the status quo is not working, that more of the same from the folks under the Gold Dome is going to produce more of the same. After 12 years of such gubernatorial ‘leadership’ under Perdue and now Deal, that’s not acceptable.”
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Mary Elizabeth Sings’ response: “Thank you for this statement, Jay Bookman.  I thought I might not vote for Jason Carter, because of his stand on this issue, alone, but he has tempered his position, a bit, by indicating that he would not do anything that teachers were not in favor of, and he has sought guidance from the GAE, in this regard, also.
I am voting a straight-up Democratic ticket in November, and I encourage all citizens of Georgia to do the same, if you want to move Georgia forward, again.”
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