April 15, 2019
Now in our final month of the Legislative Session, we are in a holding pattern. The House has included a Plan 1 COLA and a medical benefit restoration in their budget proposal. The Senate has proposed neither of these important benefit restorations.
The House and Senate budget writers are setting up a conference committee this week to discuss a tax revenue package. Once those discussions are complete, the conference committee will get down to business and hammer out a final budget.
Please continue to communicate with your legislators. Your connection with them can make the difference between success and failure in achieving your political goals.
April 3, 2019
We have good news and VERY BAD news to report. The House accepted, on a 94-0 vote, an amendment to add a 3% Plan 1 COLA into their budget. Their budget proposal now has a retiree medical benefit restoration and a Plan 1 COLA. Those changes would improve the financial well-being of nearly all Plan 1, Plan 2, and Plan 3 retirees. Please contact your House Representatives to say THANK YOU for job well done! This is proof that your emails and phone calls are working! Please keep it up.
However, nothing positive can be said about the Senate budget proposal. I cannot even say that it’s a “No Cuts” budget. THE SENATE DID NOT ADD A PLAN 1 COLA. It DID NOT ADD A RETIREE MEDICAL RESTORATION. IT DID ADD A STUDY TO REVIEW YOUR MEDICAL BENEFITS.
This is an unacceptable and insensitive way to treat former public servants.
Your lobbying worked in the House. After thanking your representatives, turn your effort to your state senator! If you’ve already called or written, do it again! After a lifetime of public service you do not deserve to be treated this way. Insist that the Senate add a retiree medical restoration and Plan 1 COLA to their budget.
Keep it up.
Peter Diedrick & Alan Burke
March 28, 2019
The House Appropriations Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee are in the midst of releasing their 2019-2021 budget proposals. The House proposal has been made public. In that budget, retirees maintained all current benefits, and restored the PEBB Medicare Eligible Health Benefit to $183 per month, per person. The House proposal does not fund a Plan 1 COLA at this time. We are working to amend the budget bill.
The Senate proposal is expected soon. We are expecting the Senate to rely less on new tax revenue and have an overall smaller budget proposal. Senate appropriators have not been encouraging to retiree representatives.
The Senate and House are moving legislation to make TRS / SERS / PERS Plan 2 the default pension plan for new employees. HB 1308 and SB 5360 would accomplish that goal. House Bill 1139 would make it easier for members of Plans 2 & 3 who retire early to work part time in schools. That bill has a chance of passing this session. Also, SB 5160 would freeze property taxes for seniors who make under $70,000 per year. SB 5160 has been funded in the House Budget Proposal.