Good legislative news! Connecticut has a budget. As of this writing, the Legislature and the Governor have made no changes in the Teacher Pension Tax Exclusion Law of 10% exclusion in 2015, 25% exclusion in 2016, and 50% exclusion in 2017. ARTC lobbying efforts and member response to ARTC’s “Urgent Action” request made a difference in Hartford. Reminding Legislators that the Tax Exclusion Law addresses an unfair taxation on retired teachers and explaining why it was an economically sound move made a difference. ARTC thanks the Legislators and the Governor for their understanding and support. Cathy D’Agostino and Sandra Bove
The Legislative Committee was aware of the State’s deficit budget and the cuts and hardships it would impose on Connecticut citizens. Over these past years, with the State tax exemption postponed on retired teacher pensions and with the decrease in the State’s contribution to our Health Fund, retired teachers have shared the burden of helping to keep budget stability.
Despite the huge deficit budget the Legislature and the Governor supported the 10 percent CT tax exclusion on retired teacher pension income. It survived the Implementers and is now part of the 2015-2016 budget. The 25 percent state tax exclusion for 2016 and the 50 percent exclusion for 2017 remain as part of this law.
All members need to thank their representatives for supporting the tax exclusion and remind them that the 10 percent State tax exclusion on their pension is a fairness issue. Because we cannot choose to pay into Social Security during our school employment, we should be given tax breaks comparable to those given to retirees receiving Social Security benefits. Moreover, evidence shows that the 10 percent saved in income tax will flow back into the State’s economy through retiree spending.
In addition, while we appreciate assurances that our Health Fund is solvent, it is important to remind Legislators that teacher retirees pay for the bulk of their own health insurance and continued reductions in the State’s promised contribution can put our Health Fund in jeopardy. Active teachers contribute to this fund and retired teachers rely on the fund to defray their insurance costs.
Legislative Committee members met with key legislators and the Governor to advocate for the tax exemption and Health Fund solvency. The many members who attended Lobby Day and the Meet and Greet at the Capitol successfully communicated our issues. Active members get results!
We also need to advocate for the repeal of the unfair GPO/WEP. Presently there is a Social Security Fairness Bill in both the House and the Senate. Please urge your US Congressmen to co-sponsor these bipartisan bills. Again the more people that contact their Congressmen, the more likely we are to keep the issue in the forefront.
In February, the new Legislature will convene. We will be monitoring our legislative issues. We are only as effective as the support from our members. Please do your part.