There's an old saying in politics. Once a government program is started, you can never kill it. It will live forever.

The Loudon County school board took a giant step forward Thursday to put in place an expensive government program that will never end. The board voted to continue the teacher retirement incentive program. The incentive program was passed last year and was suppose to be a one time offer to teachers and others to offer a cash incentive to those who meet certain criteria to retire. Thirty years service in education with twenty years of that service with the county school system.

Continuing the incentive program changes it from an incentive to a never ending benefit or golden parachute that no matter the cost in the future, the board will never be able to end it, ever. 

The idea of a retirement incentive to save money is a proven action. But a lot of factors come into play. The idea is, the one time incentive would encourage the most senior teachers/certified employees to retire. Those highest paid employees would then be replaced with lower paid employees. If all the factors happen as proposed a lot of savings could be realized. Unfortunately, when a one time incentive is turned in to an annual benefit, the incentive factor is lost. Why would anyone choose to give up a forty to fifty grand per year job to take the incentive this year when they can wait another year or two or three and still get the cash. Again, no longer an incentive just another tax payer funded benefit for government employees.

Under the current school board plan, the retiree will receive a lump sum payment of around $13,000.00 plus or minus depending on certain factors, plus a $165.00 per month insurance supplement till the age of 65. If the retiring employee were age 55 when they retired, their insurance costs would be nearly $20,000.00 plus the $13,000.00 lump sum. These figures could be slightly higher or lower depending on the employees age and current pay.

One of the leading supporters of the incentive/benefit is board member, Ric Best, whose wife will be eligible for the for the pay out in a year or two.

We hear so many politicians, especially on the local level, call for smaller government and less spending, yet given the opportunity they all seem to spend more money and grow government.

Retirement incentive or golden parachute, what would you call it?