Southern Fairfield Retired Teacher Association serving Darien, Greenwich, New Canann, Norwalk, Stamford, Weston, Westport, Wilton
James Stirling of Stirling Benefits and SFCRTA Vice Presidents-Insurance, Louise and Rick Follman at the 2014 SFCRTA Spring Luncheon
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.
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?
1) taught in or
2) who now reside in the following towns
Darien Greenwich New Canaan
Norwalk Stamford Weston
Bethel Branford Bridgeport Danbury
Easton Fairfield Meriden Monroe
New Haven New Milford Newtown Oxford
Redding Stratford West Haven
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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.
Mr. Laccavole listened and responded with some interest to the suggestions. All in all, a rather provocative meeting for us all.
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:
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.
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.
Frank Cooper, President
• 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
|Safeguarding your pension||Communicating with Denise Nappier, State Treasurer, Darlene Perez, TRB Director and State legislators.||
Come to the April 10 meeting to hear from Darlene Perez.
Communicating with TRB and
Collaborating with national efforts to
Communicating with State legislators
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!
Do you remember you had "Permanent certification and a guaranteed COLA for your pension? Help us help you to maintain your benefits in the future. Your valued membership has allowed us to push forward strong Legislative support for retired teacher's benefits.