RPEC Weekly ACTION Newsletter – 3-26-2021
IN THIS ISSUE
- Action Item: Thank your Legislators for preserving the PEBB Medicare Benefit & including progressive revenue in the House/Senate budgets
- Bill Status Update
- Weekly Legislative Update Zoom Call
ACTION ITEM: THANK YOUR LEGISLATORS FOR PRESERVING THE PEBB MEDICARE BENEFIT & INCLUDING PROGRESSIVE REVENUE IN THE HOUSE/SENATE BUDGETS
Email addresses and office phone numbers for your Legislators can be found here: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/Rosters/Members
The toll-free state legislature switchboard is 1-800-562-6000.
House and Senate Budgets Released
The House and Senate released their proposed 2021-2023 budgets this week. RPEC was pleased to see that the important priorities of preserving the PEBB Medicare Benefit, fully funding the employer contributions to the pension systems, and proposals to enact a progressive tax on high-end capital gains were included. This is due in part to the advocacy of retirees like you, so thank you for reaching out to your legislators. It has made a difference.
The Senate budget also included a provision to allocate 800 Million dollars towards the unfunded liability in the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) plan 1. This one-time allocation has the potential to save the state an even larger amount of money over the next few decades due to the investment returns it is expected to earn. That would allow for additional investments that would likely benefit public sector retirees.
As of the last evaluation, TRS Plan 1 has an unfunded liability of 2.84 Billion dollars, while Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) Plan 1 has an unfunded liability of 4.07 Billion dollars. This unfunded liability exists because of the underpayment of pension contributions by state and local employees for several years in the early 2000s. A payment plan is in place that requires employers to pay an additional percentage per active employee to eventually eliminate the unfunded liability in both plans. Current assumptions predict that to occur in 2026-2027. It is important to note that the state pays virtually all of the unfunded liability cost for those in TRS Plan 1, while the unfunded liability cost for PERS plan 1 is shared by the state and local government employers.
RPEC supports all efforts to maintain and improve the financial integrity of the State retirement system. We will be communicating with budget leaders about the importance of continuing to pay down the unfunded liability in all plans.
BILL STATUS UPDATE
Several bills that we have been following have passed through their house of origin and are expected to continue to move through the legislative process
The full list of bills that we are tracking and their current status can be found here: https://rpecwa.org/bill-summary-3-26-2021/
WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Each week we will host a Zoom call to provide an update on the status of RPEC’s Legislative Priorities and answer questions from members. The calls will take place at 1pm each Friday through the end of the Legislative Session. The Zoom login information will be the same each week.
To join the weekly update calls:
Via Computer or tablet:
Or, go to: https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 828 6634 6713
Via Phone: Dial: (253) 215-8782
Meeting ID: 828 6634 6713