Southern Fairfield County Retired Teachers Association

Southern Fairfield Retired Teacher Association serving Darien, Greenwich, New Canann, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, Wilton

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SFCRTA Spring Luncheon 2014

 

James Stirling of Stirling Benefits and SFCRTA Vice Presidents-Insurance, Louise and Rick Follman at the 2014 SFCRTA Spring Luncheon

Click here to download Teachers Retirement Board Retiree Benefits Plan (PPT)

 

Newsletter - May 2014

President’s Message

Working for you! Join us.

We currently have Senate Bill No. 342, "An Act Concerning the Retired Teachers Health Insurance Premium Account," in the Appropriations Committee. Passage of this bill will be a positive step toward revising a pattern of underfunding our Health Insurance Fund (HIPA).

Senate Bill No. 28, reducing the State income tax on retired teachers’ pensions by one half over two years, has successfully been passed out of the Finance Committee.  We will continue to watch as it continues its passage through the Legislature and keep you informed.  As you might not know, Connecticut is one of only five states that fully taxes retired teachers’ pensions.  One fourth of our retired teachers move out of state, motivated at least in part, to escape Connecticut’s high tax burden.

If you are a retired CT teacher living out of state, you can still have a voice. You can join the SFCRTA (the largest affiliate in the state) and the ARTC (Association of Retired Teachers of CT) and add your voice to ours.  On these two websites (www.sfcrta.com & www.artct.org) you can find updates on the various political agendas, as well as contact information for various State and Federal officials.  Through the ARTC, we have a lobbyist who continuously works the State Capitol in Hartford.  In addition, we do remind our elected officials as to the number of members our organizations represent, and it has had an impact.  

Respectfully,

Frank Cooper, President        

TRB information – please go to:  http://www.ct.gov/trb  for inormation on the Teachers’ Retirement Board.  Here you will find names of board members, meeting schedules, and contact information. 

Who are we?

  • The Southern Fairfield County Retired Teachers’ Association represents teachers who

             1) taught in or

             2) who now reside in the following towns

Darien                        Greenwich                   New Canaan

Norwalk                      Stamford                    Weston

Westport                    Wilton

  • Here are some of the towns in which our members live:

Bethel                          Branford                     Bridgeport                   Danbury

Easton                         Fairfield                      Meriden                       Monroe

New Haven                 New Milford               Newtown                    Oxford

Redding                      Stratford                     West Haven

  • Here are some of the states in which our members live:

Arizona                       California                    Colorado                     Delaware        

District of Colombia   Florida                         Georgia                       Illinois            

Iowa                            Maine                          Maryland                     Massachusetts

Michigan                     Minnesota                   Montana                      Nevada

New Hampshire          New Jersey                  New York                   North Carolina

Ohio                            Oregon                                    Pennsylvania               Rhode Island

South Carolina            Tennessee                    Texas                           Utah

Vermont                      Washington                 Wyoming                                           

  • Our members taught anywhere from 10 to 46 years.
  • One member said that SFCRTA membership was the best $15 he had ever spent.  Others often thank us for our efforts.  Governor Malloy identified former President John Kane as one of the first people to suggest eliminating the tax on our pensions, since we are one of only five states to fully tax teacher pensions. Jamie Stirling of Stirling Benefits has commented that hearing from retired teachers made a difference in the decision to include the herpes vaccine in the coverage for the STRB insurance plan. 
  • Together we do make a difference!
 

SFCRTA MEETING NOTES April 10, 2014

The Southern Fairfield County Retired Teachers Association met with Lou Laccavole, the Fiscal Administrative Supervisor of the Connecticut State Teachers' Retirement Board on April 10, 2014. Darlene Perez, the Administrator of the TRB was scheduled to speak but was unable to attend. Mr. Laccavole gave us a quick overview of the TRB and some of its responsibilities to active and retired teachers. At the moment there are approximately 55,000 active, 35,000 retired and 10,000 inactive teachers whose benefits are administered through the TRB. The Connecticut Teachers Retirement System is governed by Chapter 167a of the CT General Statutes and is administered by the TRB located in Hartford. The Board consists of fourteen members: four active teacher members, two retired teacher members, the Commissioner of the Department of Education, the State Treasurer, The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, and five public members appointed by the governor. All members serve without pay.

Among the issues which Mr. Laccavole addressed were the retired teachers Health Insurance Premium Account (HIPA) for which the state provided only 25% funding, down from the 33% statutory requirement.

Another issue concerns the CT legislature allowing the state to use the Retiree Drug Subsidy from the federal government as the state's contribution to the Health Insurance Premium Account (HIPA). This represents a loss of 11 million dollars to HIPA.

There was also a discussion of Governor Malloy's plan to exempt 25% of the state income tax from our pensions in 2014 and 50% in 2015.

Several questions and suggestions were made to Mr. Laccavole by the attendees.
Among them:

  • When and where are the TRB meetings held? All meetings are held at the RTB boardroom at 765 Asylum Ave. Hartford. Meeting schedules may be found at www.ct/trb. (The next meeting is scheduled for April 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM, however be sure to check for cancellations). The meetings are open to the public.
  • A suggestion was made that the meetings be videotaped and shown on CT television or be available to the public. 
  • The TRB has no paid lobbyist and most attendees felt this is an important consideration to pursue.
  • Another suggestion was made that the TRB should establish a trust, which would allow for better investment terms.

Mr. Laccavole listened and responded with some interest to the suggestions. All in all, a rather provocative meeting for us all.

 

 

Important, Strategic Action Needed for SS Fairness. You can help now!

Social Security support groups are beginning to align their messages toward making the Social Security system stronger and fairer. Right now is a perfect time to tell these groups that in order to make the system fair to all, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) must be repealed!

Please use the quick link below to email your Congressman and Senators:

http://www.ssfairness.com

 

Newsletter - Feburary 2014

President's Message
Working for you! Join us.

Retired teachers' health insurance continues to be an area of great concern to the SFCRTA. The original intent of the TRB Health Insurance Premium Account (HIP A) was to defray the cost of health insurance premiums for retired teachers. The State promised to contribute an estimated one-third of this cost. The remainder was to be paid by educators, active and-retired.

  • 53,000 active teachers contribute 1.25 of their salary into HIPA. 
  • 33,000 retired teachers contribute their premium share (this year approximately $125.00 per month.)

The State's budget for fiscal year 2014 and FY 2015 reduces their share from one-third to one-fourth. This is a reduction of 21.6 million dollars. In addition, the State made a statute change which enables them to use the federal reimbursements received by the TRB (under the retiree drug subsidy provisions) to offset the amount they contribute. These federal funds would normally go directly into HIPA, but now the State is using these monies as part of their one-fourth contribution. This is an additional reduction of 28.1 million dollars; in total a two year reduction of 49.7 million dollars from the state.

The State is not contributing its promised share into HIPA and the fund is projected to be in jeopardy in the future. When the time is appropriate, we will be asking you to contact your State legislators to rectify this situation. Stay tuned and please try to recruit new members to the SFCRTA. There is strength in numbers.

Respectfully,
Frank Cooper, President

Save the dates

• April 10, 10:30 a.m., General Membership Meeting, Guest Speaker Darlene Perez, Administrator of the Teachers' Retirement Board
• June 11, Luncheon at the Continental Manor in Norwalk, Guest Speaker James Stirling, CEO Stirling Benefits

 

Help us to help you!
Here’s how:

 

ISSUE SFCRTA YOU
Safeguarding your pension Communicating with Denise Nappier, State Treasurer, Darlene Perez, TRB Director and State legislators.

Join SFCRTA.

Come to the April 10 meeting to hear from Darlene Perez.

Protecting health
insurance and
HIPA health

Communicating with TRB and
State legislators.

Join SFCRTA.
Be prepared to contact TRB to
promote quality insurance
Coverage for retirees .

 

Federal benefits
WEP/GPO repeal

 

Collaborating with national efforts to
repeal policies which limit Social
Security benefits.

 

Join SFCRTA.
Contact your Senators and
Representatives in Washington.

 

Staying informed
about issues
impacting
retirees

 

Communicating with State legislators
and the TRB. Disseminating
information to the members of
SFCRTA.

 

Join SFCRTA
Go to www. SFCRTA.com.

 

If there is an envelope in this mailing, according to our records, you have not joined for the 2014 calendar year. Your payment of $15 dues allows SFCRTA to continue to address the issues facing retirees and to keep you informed. Please join us!

 

 
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