Contact Your Legislators: The Budget Must Fully Fund TRS and Employee Healthcare

From TAMMY BERLIN, Jefferson County Teachers Association via ActionNetwork.org  

Email legislators now. Tell them: Fully Fund TRS and Pre-65 Retiree Health Insurance!

As Kentucky teachers worked tirelessly last week to prepare to support their students through distance learning, our Senate voted to withhold funding for the Teachers' Retirement System (TRS) and not to fund the state’s commitment to pre-65 retired teacher health insurance. Late Thursday, the Senate passed a budget proposal to essentially hold hostage nearly 1 BILLION dollars in funding for TRS if structural changes, such as benefit cuts, are not made for new teachers and eliminated funding for retiree health insurance – a move that will almost certainly cause monthly premiums to skyrocket by hundreds of dollars per month. Teachers who determined they could afford to retire are depending on the state to keep its commitment or they will not be able to make ends meet.

The state committed to cover the cost of pre-65 retired teachers health insurance in the 2010 Shared Responsibility Bill. In that bill, active teachers agreed to have 3% more taken out of our paychecks, and school districts agreed to match those funds, and retired employees agreed to pay quite a bit monthly. The Senate budget completely reneges on this promise the state made in 2010.

This is an unprecedented moment in our commonwealth's history. Our active and retired educators deserve retirement security during these uncertain times. The National Institute on Retirement Security's study reveals that a steady pension income acts as an economic stabilizer during a downturn.

Legislators began meeting yesterday and will meet until a final compromise budget is passed on April 1. You can find your legislator hereEmail your legislator and tell them you want full TRS funding, including retiree health insurance, in the HB 352 budget conference report.