Del. lawmaker: Retirement bill could save state millions

    Early Retirement Incentive bill would reduce the size of government, save the taxpayers money and encourage economic growth, says the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Colin Bonini

    Delaware Senator Colin Bonini (R-Dover South) has pushed for the early retirement of state workers for a long time.

    Now he has the legislation — and the data — behind him.

    Bonini released the information Thursday at Legislative Hall in Dover in support of his Early Retirement Incentive bill. Bonini says 8,000 of Delaware’s 31,500-plus employees are already pension eligible. He adds the average salary and compensation for these workers is $75,000 per year.

    “So if we can eliminate a thousand positions without laying anybody off, without cutting anybody’s pay — this is strictly voluntary — we can save $75 million a year, every single year,” he said. “This is not a one-time deal.”

    The bill provides a retirement incentive of an additional two years of pension credit for eligible state employees who retire before Oct. 31, 2010.

    “Their retirement payments would be much higher and they’d be able to leave work two years earlier,” Bonini said. “And I think that’s a pretty strong incentive.”

    The act also requires that at least 50 percent of the positions vacated remain unfilled for at least five years and that the money saved must be used to help small businesses in Delaware.

    “Delaware is at about a 10 percent unemployment rate,” Bonini said. “The only way to fix that is to get the money out of the government and into the job-creating private sector.”

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