The number 27 can take on a lot of different meanings pending your interest. If you are a scientist you know that 27 is the atomic number for cobalt. A mathematician knows that 27 is a perfect cube, being 3^3 = 27. A Spanish teacher knows there are 27 letters in the Spanish alphabet. If you are a baseball fan you are keenly aware that 27 is the number of outs for each team in a regulation baseball game. A Christian knows there are 27 books in the New Testament. However to a retired teacher concerned about their pension, 27 marks the number of days the General Assembly has been in session out of 60 total days they meet with still no assurance from our legislators that our earned benefits are safe. It also means legislators are being very deliberate and cautious when considering changes to our retirement benefits and we should thank them for that.
Rumors continue about the contents of possible bills that may be filed. The voice of KRTA members is vital as the session continues. Our emphasis remains the same as it has been for the last several months. 1) Maintain a defined benefit program for current and future teachers. 2) Maintain ALL retiree health insurance 3) Maintain the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for retired teachers and 4) Maintain the current governance and operations of TRS.
While we applaud the administration for making the necessary contribution to TRS for this biennium, the elimination of state funding for retiree health insurance has many concerned about their financial well being. Our current understanding is that the proposal would affect retirees under the age of 65 who retired on or after July 1, 2010.
House Bill 540 (Shared Responsibility), enacted during the 2010 session of the General Assembly, changed how retired teachers’ health insurance is funded. While access to group coverage for retired teachers is part of the Inviolable Contract, the details of that coverage are not – something reiterated in HB 540. By not making the state's contribution to retiree health insurance the Governor is violating the intent of the Shared Responsibility Plan passed in 2010.
If no funding is provided under the budget that is ultimately enacted this session, under-65 retirees who retired (or retire) on or after July 1, 2010 teachers could end up paying more, or all of the cost of their health insurance premiums.
It is IMPORTANT to note that the budget proposal is now in the House and they will begin to make adjustments to the Governor’s proposal. It is our hope many changes will be made including fully funding retiree health insurance during the session but your advocacy is needed.
To keep informed on the latest information pertaining to possible pension reform, visit our website at teachfrankfort.org. Make your voice heard in Frankfort. We ALL must continue to advocate for our earned benefits.
Click on the following links for more information concerning pensions.
The following case study shows how DB to DC switch in FL caused town to hemorrhage workers….and had to switch back to DB.
A snapshot of Kentucky Retirement Systems: Both KRS and TRS
TRS Newsletter from April 2010 concerning Shared Responsibility Plan