Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Term Contract Bill/Cuts to VRS Benefits Save Nothing!

The term contract bill went by for the day once again. It appears that the Governor is having a very difficult time getting the 21 votes that he needs. Please keep the calls to Senators coming.

We are in a very difficult battle to protect the pension benefits of current and future teachers. Working with our Virginia Pension Protection Coalition partners, we brought in three pension experts of national stature to inform the debate. We did get some coverage in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

We thank Ilana Bovie of the National Institute on Retirement Security, Monique Morrissey of the Economic Policy Institute, and David Madland of the Center for American Progress for working with us to try to bring the light of truth to the retirement debate.

Senator Watikins’ acknowledgement that the hybrid plan will not save money sure begs the question: Why are we doing this?

Please read to the end of the article.

I revised the letter to the Senators in keeping with new information we received Monday from VRS detailing the degree to which the Senate proposal will reduce the retirement benefits of future teachers. To make a complicated issue just a bit more complicated, the Senate rolled HB 1129 into HB 1130 when they adopted the Senate substitute. So, yesterday, we were telling you to oppose HB 1129. HB 1129 no longer exists – please work to oppose HB 1130. Click here to send your letter to your Senator.

The letter to Delegates, urging their opposition to the House substitute for SB 498 is hot off the press. Please click here to send your letter to your Delegate.

Doris Crouse-Mays, AFL-CIO President; Dr. Kitty Boitnott, VEA President, and Mike Mohler, Virginia Professional Firefighters President lobbied as a team today to resist the cuts in VRS benefits. Kudos to these leaders for showing solidarity!

I've been trying to explain the prevailing philosophy in the General Assembly this year. A recent quip from commedian Andy Borowitz sums it up, "“I support the rights of the unborn child until it is born and wants an education."

FYI, we now have over 17,000 cyberlobbyists!!!