Liberal columnist Marty Trillhaase sides with the Idaho Freedom Foundation in complaining about legislative abuses of the taxpayer-funded pension system.
Trillhaase, the Lewiston Tribune's high-profile scribe, penned a column Wednesday support IFF's work exposing lawmakers who've boosted their pension through an unfair loophole.
"A steady parade of legislators recently have made the leap into Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter's administration, not only with a sizeable bump in pay but also a comfortable pension that comes with it," Trillhaase wrote.
IFF continues highlighting legislative abuses, most recently foisted on taxpayers by Otter and former Sens. Dean Cameron, Bob Geddes and Elliot Werk. Otter recently appointed Cameron to head the Department of Insurance, Geddes to the Department of Administration and Werk to the Idaho State Tax Commission.
Cameron and Geddes will boost their pensions more than 500 percent if they clear state rules for calculating pensions.
Trillhaase condemned the practice. "As (Wayne) Hoffman argues, this isn't just a case of politicians feathering their nests. Dangling the potential of a comfortable retirement before lawmakers gives governors enormous political clout," he wrote. "Every time the governor calls, a lawmaker confronts a potential conflict of interest between his constituents and his own well-being."
The Idaho House cleared a bill this year to end the pension boost, but Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill killed the measure by sending it to a pet committee.
At the Idaho Statesman, reporter Bill Dentzer queried Geddes if the pension factored in his decision to take the Department of Administration job.
"Is it a factor?" Geddes reflected. "Well, of course it is. If there wasn’t a salary associated with the position, I probably couldn’t justify it or afford to engage in this. There’s only one way that I can increase my retirement and that is to work here and be successful for the long term."