LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Thursday morning, city council members will be debating whether or not to force LP&L to start paying about $3 million a year to operate street lights. Last week, I mentioned that sort of thing was a first step down the wrong road - a road that almost ruined LP&L back in 2003.
One side will argue that city budgets are tight and LP&L has $90 million in the bank and it's time they pony up. The other side will agree with me that forcing LP&L to pay more than any other business pays the city is bad policy; and that any budget surplus should be given directly back to citizens in a tax decrease or to rate payers in rebates.
Opponents for this money grab might even say that city staffers won't get raises without LP&L's help. So consider this: I have an idea where the city might cut expenses to help with those raises without suckling off LP&L.
Did you know Lubbock city employees get a two for one match on their 401k? That means for every dollar a staffer puts into their retirement we the taxpayers give them$2 in return. That adds up to millions of dollars a year for the more than 1800 city employees.
You'll be hard pressed to find any private enterprise or corporation that matches one for one, much less two for one. In fact, when times get tough, private companies stop the match all together - but not the government.
Do I think employees deserve a cost of living adjustment? Sure, but a 200% retirement match, in my opinion, is out of touch, unrealistic, and irresponsible. So to the Lubbock city council: before you go robbing Peter to pay Paul, I suggest you get rid of the pork in your own budget.
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