Wednesday, February 24, 2021

RPEC Weekly ACTION Newsletter – 2-19-2021

RPEC Weekly ACTION Newsletter – 2-19-2021

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Action Item: Contact Senators to Support SB 5021
  • Bill Status Update
  • Weekly Legislative Update Zoom Call

ACTION ITEM: CONTACT SENATORS TO SUPPORT SB 5021

Action Item: Contact your Senator and ask them to support SB 5021, which would protect the retirement benefits of current employees furloughed due to the pandemic. The state legislature switchboard is 1-800-562-6000. You can also locate their email address here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/

This bill has passed out of the Senate Ways & Means committee and is awaiting a possible floor vote. We are hoping our members can show support for future retirees by asking their Senators to support this bill.

  • A similar bill was passed in 2010 that held public employees harmless in the calculation of their final average compensation caused by mandatory furloughs.
  • Public employees did their part to help with the struggling economy caused by COVID by negotiating furloughs into their contracts. That will represent an approximate 5% reduction in their take home pay. Their help with our state’s economy emergency and their continued service throughout the pandemic should not cost them when it comes time for them to retire from public service.
  • The cost of this recognition of public employee service to state is negligible ($309k)

BILL STATUS UPDATE

In addition to our top priorities of protecting the PEBB Medicare Benefit and ensuring the full funding of the pension systems in the state budget, we are also tracking a variety of bills that impact public-sector retirees.

The updated list of bills and their current status can be found here: https://rpecwa.org/bill-summary-2-19-2021/​​

Monday, February 22nd is the last day for bills to pass out of their respective fiscal committee in their house of origin. Note: Some bills may remain “alive” even if they have not passed out of committee.

The momentum around addressing Washington’s upside-down tax code continued this week as the Senate Ways & Means Committee passed SB 5096 which would:

  • add a 7% tax on high-end capital gains – such as sales of stocks and bonds – only on profits greater than $250,000
  • raise more than $550 million annually for early learning programs, education legacy trust and other programs to support equity, justice and fairness
  • impact just 2% of the wealthiest Washingtonians

SB 5096 would NOT apply to gains from the sales of assets from:

  • retirement accounts,
  • small businesses,
  • residential real estate, or
  • farmland, timber, or livestock

WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – FEBRUARY 26TH UPDATE-CANCELLED

Due to a scheduling conflict, there will not be a weekly briefing call on Zoom for members on Friday, February 26th. We will resume our regular updates on Friday, March 5th. You will receive a RPEC Weekly ACTION Newsletter email on February 26th.

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