Legislators Listen: We Will Be Heard
ARTC lobbied vigorously to maintain a Connecticut tax exclusion for retired teachers. While we were unable to maintain the 50% exclusion as promised for 2017, we were able to maintain the law for 2019.
Lobby Day was a success! On April 4 retired teachers from all over the state turned out in droves to petition their legislators to support the pension and health insurance fund. About 200 retirees flooded the Legislative Offices to voice their frustration and concerns.Click here to see the video.
We were there to remind our legislators that our pension fund has an unfunded liability of 13 billion dollars and that our health insurance fund, short funded over the years by 192 million, is facing insolvency by the end of this year. We were there to remind them of their promises that they would never allow these funds to go bankrupt.
At the LOB joint meeting, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz was bombarded with questions on why the state failed to adequately support the pension and health fund. The Speaker acknowledged the years of inadequate support and admitted that better vetting of the issues could have been made in the budget hearings. Now the Legislature is exploring other ways to get financial support such as moving Lottery proceeds to pension funding.
When Sandra Bove, Cathy D’Agostino, Tom Singleton and our Lobbyist met with the Majority Leader of the House Matt Ritter, he echoed the Lottery money proposal for the pension as well. At an earlier meeting, Majority Leader of the Senate Bob Duff said he was hoping that better revenues from state income taxes might be used to shore up the budget. Of course all these avenues of increased income are just exploratory and may never come to fruition.
Therefore, while Lobby Day had a huge turnout of retired teachers expressing their concerns and petitioning their legislators, we cannot sit back on the one day success. We must continue to remind each and every legislator of the promises made to teachers. The only way the Legislature will shore up the pension and health fund is if we strongly advocate for it.
ARTC—Please join ARTC now.
Cathy D’Agostino and Sandra Bove