RPEC Weekly Newsflash, August 11, 2023
Looming Federal Funding Bill Threats Prompts RPEC Call-to-Action Campaign
As our federal legislators wrap up their summer vacations, they will soon head back to Washington, D.C. to work on federal funding legislation. Rumor has it that a stalemate may be likely over newly proposed funding bill cuts. These newly proposed cuts would negatively impact many public services due to the lack of adequate funding and slash federal funding levels by almost 30%. If not agreed upon soon, the stalemate could lead to a federal government shutdown.
Although your Social Security and Medicare payments will not be impacted, there is still the possibility of cuts being proposed that could adversely impact these federal earned-benefit programs, along with the likelihood of service delays. Proposed funding bill cuts will also affect public safety, education, and many other needed public services by slashing federal funding headed to states and cities.
RPEC will be implementing a letter campaign through our email system, that will go to your respective Congressperson, urging them to avoid a shutdown, oppose any cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, and restore the bipartisan funding levels agreed upon in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. The campaign will be launched next week, and you simply need to click through our call-to-action and the letter will be forwarded to your Congressperson with your name attached. Watch for our Call-to-Action in your email soon!
RPEC Feature on Mission Nonprofit Now Available!
Each month, Thurston Community Media’s (TCMedia) Mission Nonprofit connects with local organizations and agencies that are making positive impacts in our communities. This month, RPEC is the organization featured on Thurston Community Media’s Mission Nonprofit cable television show. RPEC is also featured in this month’s edition of Thurston Talk, a digital community newsletter published by Thurston County.
The recorded show is available on the following mediums: view it on TCMedia’s YouTube channel, listen to it via podcast, and read the transcript in Thurston Talk. Click below to find the links to all these, as well as more information.
Protecting Your Email & Avoiding Online Scams Webinar
RPEC is committed to helping our members wherever possible. This includes educating them on ways to protect their email from potential hacking or intrusion and avoiding various scams they may encounter through their email.
We will be hosting a one-hour long educational webinar on Protecting Your Email & Avoiding Online Scams on Friday, September 8th from 1:00 pm -2:00 pm.
You need to register in advance through Zoom using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvceqprTwoEtco79jvKTngyTZv-En5b-rb. Zoom will confirm your registration and send you a link to the meeting. We will send you a reminder link a day prior to the meeting as well.
We all encounter potential scams through email and seniors tend to be the more vulnerable population targeted by scammers. This webinar will provide you with the tools and knowledge to better secure your email, identify potential scams more efficiently, and reduce your chances of being scammed. We hope you will take an hour and join us!
Social Security – The American Lifeline
Monday, August 14th marks the 88th anniversary of Social Security!
Before the advent of Social Security in 1935, the twilight years for many seniors were overshadowed by financial uncertainty. Nearly 50% of seniors found themselves living below the poverty line, navigating a challenging landscape without the safety net of Social Security. The introduction of Social Security has played a pivotal role in reducing senior poverty rates to just around 10%. This monumental decline signifies a tangible shift in the lives of our elderly citizens, as they now enjoy greater financial stability and a more dignified quality of life. Social Security has become a lifeline for our seniors, granting them the freedom to embrace their golden years with dignity and security. With over 18 million seniors benefiting from Social Security’s intervention in 2021, it is unquestionable that seniors depend on it to have a good quality of life.
An estimated 40% of seniors rely on Social Security as a significant portion of their income, with as many as 1 in 7 seniors relying on this program for a staggering 90% of their income. This statistic serves as a poignant reminder of the immense responsibility that society holds to ensure the well-being of its elderly citizens. For some, it’s an essential lifeline that provides the foundation for basic needs, while for others, it becomes the bedrock upon which dreams of a comfortable retirement are built. Social Security isn’t just a program; it’s a testament to the values of empathy, compassion, and solidarity.
American Red Cross Free Smoke Alarms
The American Red Cross is now installing free smoke alarms for residents of Washington and Idaho, including bed shakers and strobes. Go to https://www.redcross.org/local/washington/about-us/our-work/home-fire-campaign.html or call 1-833-918-1531 to request free smoke alarms. There is no special request form for bed shakers and strobes for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, but you can request it while setting up your appointment.
State Treasurer Hosting Retirement Security Town Halls
State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti is hosting retirement security town halls across the state to raise awareness about challenges that current and future retirees face. These town halls will be an opportunity to share ideas and hear what work is on the horizon that could ensure that all Washingtonians have equitable access to long-term retirement security.
Joining Treasurer Pellicciotti will be guest panelists April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council; Aaron Keating, Managing Director at Economic Opportunity Institute; and Cathleen MacCaul, Advocacy Director at AARP Washington. Members of the public are invited to attend and participate in the conversations.
Three more left – Yakima, August 17th; Everett, August 22nd; and Steilacoom, August 28th.
One of the best perks of being an RPEC member is having access to a variety of benefits exclusive to members. By offering these benefits, we hope to save our members a significant amount of money, providing them with a heightened sense of financial security and freedom. To explore the benefits available to you, please visit our newly updated Member-Only Benefits page on our website: https://rpecwa.org/member-only-benefits/
If you would like a comprehensive overview of RPEC’s members-only benefits, you can watch the RPEC Members-Only Benefits Webinar here: https://rpecwa.org/members-only-benefits-webinar/
To utilize benefits with Bright Now! Dental and Hear in America, contact them to inquire about services near you. To use AFSCME Advantage benefits, you will need your AFSCME Member ID which is located on the back of your AFSCME member card that you should have received within a few months of joining RPEC. RPEC is also known as AFSCME Retirees Chapter 10, which you will need to share when accessing benefits. If you don’t have a member card or are unsure, please contact RPEC Membership Coordinator Jakob Canup at email@example.com.
Legislative Evaluation & Accountability Program (LEAP) and Office of Financial Management (OFM Launch New State Budget Website
In the 2023 Legislative Session, the Legislature enacted ESSB 5082 that required LEAP, in conjunction with OFM, to create a website by August 15th of each year that would include the following information:
- summaries of each of the most recently adopted operating, transportation, and capital budgets and supplemental budgets.
- graphical depictions of budgeted expenditures by areas of government over the previous biennium.
- tables prepared by OFM comparing state and local expenditures with personal income over each of the preceding 20 years.
- a list of bills for which I-960 analyses were prepared, links to the legislative website for each bill, and instructions on how to find the I-960 analyses.
Please see the website at https://fiscal.wa.gov/budgetsummary.
Please refer to our calendar page for more information about each event, including links to Zoom meetings, if available.
- August 14 – Anniversary of Social Security
- August 18 – Monthly Leadership Call (1:00 pm)
- August 21 – National Senior Citizens Day
- August 21 – Senior Lobby (10:00 am)
- August 22 – Executive Board Meeting (10:45 am)
- August 24 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)
- Sept. 1 – Monthly Legislative Update Call (2:00 pm)
- Sept. 4 – Council Office Closed, Labor Day
- Sept. 8 – Political Action Committee Meeting (10:00 am)
- Sept. 8 – Protecting Your Email & Avoiding Online Scams Webinar (1:00 pm)
- Sept. 12 – WSARA Convention, Virtual
- Sept. 14 – Healthcare Workgroup Meeting (3:30 pm)
- Sept. 15 – Monthly Leadership Call (1:00 pm)