Heck, with an average age of 75, retired teachers may not even remember it was Malloy’s proposal

Last month, in a post entitled, Define fiscally and morally irresponsible? Malloy’s plan for older, retired teachers. Wait, What? readers had a chance to learn about Governor Malloy’s budget proposal to eliminate the state’s contribution to the retired teacher’s health insurance fund. 

The fund pays a portion of the health insurance premiums of retired teachers.  The bulk of the cost still rests on the individual teachers.

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee will be holding a public hearing on Malloy’s proposal tomorrow.

Malloy’s plan would force the Connecticut Teacher Retirement Board to spend the existing fund down to almost zero over the next two years.

According to an article in yesterday’s CTMirror, while Malloy’s plan would “save the state” $70.7 million in the upcoming FY14-FY15 biannual budget, but it would “put the plan’s funding at a ‘dangerous level in two years.”

Why take such a fiscally irresponsible action you ask?

Because eliminating the contribution would make the state budget look more balanced during the next gubernatorial election cycle, although the “rob Peter to pay Paul” approach would require a massive boost in the state contribution to the teacher’s retirement fund in FY 16, the year after the next election.

However, as the CTMirror notes, without that massive increase in FY 16, the state would be unable to pay its share of the teacher’s health premiums starting in the summer of 2015.

The CTMirror story explains that, “In the last four fiscal years, the state contributed nothing in two of those years. In the current fiscal year, the state is set to provide $17.7 million. If the state were to fully funding its share, the contribution would be $36 million.”

As the Vice President of the Connecticut Federation of Teachers explained at a public hearing last month, “This proposal amounts to a breach of the contract entered into…It’s cruel. Balancing the budget on the backs of retired teachers is just plain wrong.”

While Malloy’s decision to eliminate funding is a complete and total reversal from his previous statements on fiscal responsibility, the CTMirror article reveals that he isn’t alone in his thinking.  Representative Toni Walker, the House Chair of the Appropriations Committee explained, “In this fiscal time, I can’t say one way or another what we’ll do…It is very important, but how do we pay for it? Everybody needs to be asked to give a little more.”

The return to the “shared sacrifice” argument is interesting considering the Democrats in the legislature are all well aware of the fact that those making more than $1 million a year were spared any increase in their income tax rates in the $1.5 billion dollar tax package that Malloy proposed and the Democrats adopted during Malloy’s first year in office.

The CTMirror goes on to provide additional background on the Teacher Retirement Fund.  The article can be found here:  http://ctmirror.org/story/19484/budget-knife-hits-retired-teachers-heath-care

  • brutus2011

    What many people don’t know is that public education teacher retirement is funded primarily from teacher contributions. The maximum retirement I believe is not much more than 50K per year–and that is if you teach for 35 years. What people also don’t know is the size of a public education administrator’s retirement package is about double that of a teacher. For example, New Haven Superintendent Mayo will retire in July with a pension of 170K per year and a lower level central administrator would retire with 100K+ per year. On top these generous pension payouts, many retired administrators continue as consultants–a practice known as “double-dipping.”

    My point is not to decry administration pensions. My point is to get more people thinking about the financial incentives present in our public school systems. Ask any economist what they think about and Incentives and opportunity costs are at the top of the list. Apply that thinking to the “problems” swirling around public education today and I think some clarity starts setting in.

    • Jonathan Pelto

      Excellent points.

      • JMC

        And these big administrator pensions come out of the ground-pounder classroom teachers’ retirement fund. Same fund for all. It’s being seriously depleted. Now you can see why we classrooms teachers don’t want Adamowski and other non-certified Friends of Dan in their hundreds being given special dispensations to pillage the fund.

        • JMC

          And BTW, Malloy wants to eliminate the State Teachers’ Retirement Board (STRB), which administers the teachers’ retirement fund. He wants to strip it of its already understaffed personnel and merge it with the Comptroller’s Office. It is then a short step from there to merge the Teachers’ Fund into the General Fund and loot it.

    • bobluc

      Must teach 37 1/2 yrs for max benefit. No extra benefit for any more.years. Actual amount is based on percentage of greatest 3 yrs.

  • JMC

    Let me simplify for everyone the State’s contribution to retired teachers’ health care:
    The maximum amount the State of Connecticut pays towards a retired teacher’s health care of any kind is $60 per month. Period. $60 dollars per month.
    I am a retired CT teacher. I have Medicare, so that $60 goes towards a Medicare C and D program. If I didn’t have Medicare I’d have to buy a teacher’s health plan from my local school board. The State of CT would then pay $60 towards it.
    Ben Barnes in a CT Mirror article of c. Feb 15, 2012 gave the false impression, was ignorant, or lied, when he stated that CT provides health care for retired teachers, and that teachers are being thrown into a State plan by their school boards.
    Thank you, Jonathan, for defending CT’s retired teachers.

    • Jonathan Pelto

      He lied, he knows exactly what they are going. Their actions are fiscally irresponsible and morally reprehensible.

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    Malloy and Barnes go after teachers because they can. The CEA has shown that they are ready to capitulate to anything. Look at the “new deal” and the unbelievable evaluation system that they are piloting right now in Bridgeport. If administrators were given a benchmark test on their understanding of same they would all be looking for work. No one understands it and it will be history by next year. Problem is so will the teachers that cant stand the BS any more. So strip the teachers of what was promised them…..why not? They will go like lambs to the slaughter.

    • brutus2011

      Yes, we teachers are complicit in this way for sure.

    • R.L.

      AFT is complicit as well.

      • Not

        • R.L.

          Why aren’t we being organized into a frenzy?! One day of a nation-wide F*#k you flu would get some peoples attention real fast. It’s time for the unions to throw some weight around while they have some. I’m disgusted with them endorsing Obama when they know what Race to the Top is all about. If they have the gaull to endorse Malloy again, just because he’s a democrat (which is almost meaningless anymore)……well let’s just say, it’s getting close to the time where the pitch-forks and axes need to come out of the shed.

  • buygoldandprosper

    What does a Connecticut governor get when he retires? An Ex-Mayor of Stamford? The head of the Greater Hartford Arts Council?

    • JMC

      You would think that the GHAC job would be a volunteer public service job, like in the old days, not one, I’ve heard, that pays the Gov’s wife $200,000 per annum. Reminds me of Michelle Obama’s $300,000 per annum hospital job which was created, as I recall, shortly after her husband became a Senator. And when she moved to DC, the job disappeared.

  • So why are they still taking the 1.25% out of my salary–I hope they understand that they no longer will have that revenue stream–they can’t just take our money for nothing–and as a matter of fact-if the promise isn’t kept–then I want all of the money I have put in over the years back–it will help me to pay my state taxes which are obscene–dumb, dumb, dumb idea—have they even thought how much giving up that 1.25% of all teachers salaries is going to cost them?? and legally they can’t believe they have the right to take it when it is going towards nothing–biggest joke I ever heard of–the class action lawsuit is starting now-T