Dear Editor:

I was stunned to read in your Friday, Dec. 17, issued that the Carbon County Retirement Board voted to give county employees a 90 percent cost of living raise on pension checks based on the Consumer Price Index.

Most private pension plans never issue an increase to people already pensioned, so for the county to approve any increase (with tax payer money) is unusual, but 90 percent. Even it this were a typographical error and was to be 9 percent increase that would still be outrageous and would be far beyond any increase that employees are receiving in this "new economy."

Anyone paying attention to the current economy recognizes that states, counties and local governments are in for some hard times ahead - this is especially true in PA where we are coming face to face with a shortage of BILLIONS of dollars in paying already promised pensions for teachers and state employees. The money is not there, the "gravy train" has run off the rails, and we, the tax payers, are going to have to make up the difference. This makes it obvious that any increase to existing retirees is reckless spending by the county and puts taxpayers at more risk the coming years.

It is well known that Social Security recipients are not receiving an increase this year because officially prices did not rise, so I'm curious as to what consumer price index was used by Carbon County to justify the increase to their retirees?

Louise Calvin,

Palmerton