Governor addresses pension tension at town hall meeting

Feb 18, 2011 | PC Community


Governor Neil Abercrombie opened up the floor last night at the Aiea/Pearl City town hall meeting to listen to the public's concerns with regard to his administration's proposed plan to fix the state's budget deficit.

Around four hundred residents attended the town hall meeting that was sponsored by Senators Glenn Wakai, Donna Mercado Kim, Clarence Nishihara, David Ige and Representatives Roy Takumi and K. Mark Takai.

                                                             Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Governor Abercrombie speaking to residents at the Aiea/Pearl City town hall meeting held at Pearl Ridge Elementary School on Thursday, February 17, 2011.

                                                             Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Lt. Governor Brian Schatz (3rd from right) joined Governor Abercrombie and area elected Legislators during Thursday's town hall meeting.

In attendance Thursday night were city and state government retirees who were there to represent and voice their concerns with regard to the following budget cuts and tax increases proposed by the Abercrombie administration to help in balancing the state's budget:

Tax on pension income

Eliminating Medicare Part B reimbursements for public worker retirees

Cuts to welfare and Medicare

Manny Mattos from Leeward Oahu, a retired Honolulu Police Officer who retired under disability, stepped up to the microphone to express his concerns of the administrations proposed elimination of Medicare Part B reimbursements which is currently on shaky ground at the state Legislature.

"This Bill will affect me and my wife very drastically," said Mattos.

"You will not be affected at all," said Abercrombie."It will affect me but not you."

"Are you positive about that?" asked Mattos.

"I'm positive about that," answered Abercrombie.

"You want to write that down?, asked Mattos.

"You have over 400 hundred witnesses here," countered Abercrombie.

                                                             Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Retired Honolulu Police Officer Manny Mattos pictured during the Q&A portion of last night's town hall meeting.

                                                             Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]

Retired federal worker, Kathy Ebey from Newtown facing off with Governor Abercrombie over proposed pension changes that would especially have an affect on seniors.

Governor Abercrombie stood his ground and stuck to his plan to reduce the budget crisis with his proposed (very unpopular) cuts and tax increases.

"If we don't get a handle on what I'm proposing to you tonight, you don' have to worry about getting reimbursed for Medicare Part B, you're not going to get anything and nobody's going to get anything," said Abercrombie. "What we'll be telling you is you're going to pay the whole thing, not just the your Medicare Part B, you're going to be paying the entire medical premium as well."

"In terms of pension, and in terms of pension income, it's the pension part of your total income that's there. There are people in this room that are in 401K, they work just as hard as anyone else in this room. There are people here with there IRA's, they work just as hard and as long as anyone else in this room. There are people here who are living on their savings and social security, they work just as hard as anyone else in this room but they're not getting reimbursed."

"I'm one of the people that's getting reimbursed on Medicare Part B. When I first saw that I thought it was a credit card credit that came in because my wife didn't like something that she bought. It comes in every three months. I like that, that's terrific but I look in the mirror, how can I justify taking that sum when there's 500,00 taxpayer's out there who not being reimbursed one penny."

500,000 taxpayers! Governor Abercrombie is scheduled to deliver his budget to Legislators next week. will keep you posted.

                                                             Photo by Barry Villamil | [email protected]