Five and a half decades ago when I began attending elementary school, it was generally recognized that our public school teachers performed an essential task that unfortunately required them to make an economic sacrifice.

To the Editor:

Five and a half decades ago when I began attending elementary school, it was generally recognized that our public school teachers performed an essential task that unfortunately required them to make an economic sacrifice.

Their pay and benefits began to improve during the 1960s when public employees were permitted to organize (a condition even FDR objected to in his day). Today, we find the average UA taxpayer with lower average pay and considerably fewer benefits than our counterparts in the public sector.

Private industry in the U.S. generally moved away from defined benefit plans over this same period of time because the long-term legacy costs were recognized as unsustainable. Those industries which retained the old model were either forced out of business, lost market share to competitors or have been recently rescued by our federal government (think auto industry) at great cost to the taxpayers.

Taxpayers are finally waking up only to discover out-of-control federal spending and deficits are crippling our economy. Our ability, as a nation, to rescue failing public and private pension plans is now only an illusion.

We will need to honor our commitments with our current public employees while transitioning future public employees, over time, into sustainable, defined contribution plans to ensure the long-term survival of their benefits, the taxpayers and our nation. Therefore, I recommend a "no" vote on Issue 51 on Nov. 6.

Our teachers and administrators are well compensated at this time and we, the taxpayers, are about to suffer at least a decade of economic hangover to pay down the deficit we currently face.

Tim Brown
Upper Arlington