AUBURN, Mass. - Republican state Senate candidate Steve Simonian is attacking state Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) for being hypocritical when it comes to pension reform, but Moore is fighting back, saying that Simonian has “grossly misrepresented the facts.”
With the Second Worcester District election coming up in November, Simonian is on the offensive, saying that Moore should “start paying back every penny of his retirement pension to the taxpayers plus interest, which now is in excess of well over $100,000, that he started taking at the ripe old age of 45, while collecting a salary as a senator.”
Simonian, an Auburn selectman, said that Moore is hypocritical after voting for pension reform laws.
“Mr. Moore supported pension reform that prohibits teachers, firefighters, cops and other public employees from filing for retirement benefits and collecting a salary simultaneously,” Simonian said. “He supported this reform only after he started collecting over $28,000 annually in retirement benefits plus his salary.
“Mr. Moore actually thinks people are naïve to believe he is saving the taxpayers money collecting his retirement pension and salary in his 40s,” Simonian continued. “If double dipping did actually save the taxpayer money, then you have to question why Mr. Moore would support reforms that outlawed it.”
But Moore said that Simonian has “once again issued scathing remarks without first understanding the issue.”
“This phase of pension reform, which I was proud to support and vote for, is projected to save approximately $5 billion over the next 30 years,” Moore said. “Specifically, it raises the age of retirement for public employees, grants retiree benefits to surviving spouses in gay marriage, closes a number of loopholes, and much more.
“It does not, as my opponent has stated, prevent state employees from seeking a new occupation after retirement, as is my case,” Moore continued. “My opponent also stated that pensions are paid entirely with taxpayer money, which is also blatantly untrue. I paid 26 years into the retirement system, and my limited pension reflects only what I’ve contributed.”
Moore worked for 22 years in the environmental police and then four years as an assistant deputy superintendent in the sheriff’s office. After retiring in 2008 from the sheriff’s office, he received a pension and became a state senator.
“I chose not to defer my retirement or include my time in the legislature, a decision that has reduced my pension by 50 percent,” Moore said. “I am likewise one of the only legislators in the state who has refused creditable service towards retirement. I will never earn a higher pension for the rest of my life, and that’s a choice I made.”
Moore challenged Simonian to refuse earning retirement credit if elected to the legislature, as Moore has done.
“If my opponent is true to his word, and he believes in pension reform, I call on him to make that same pledge,” Moore said.