Malloy to retired teaches; I know I tried cutting your legs off with that health insurance cut last year but…

A year ago this month, a Wait, What? Blog post began with the words:

There are a lot of crazy, irresponsible and down-right mean things in Governor Malloy’s budget proposal, but his plan to totally eliminate Connecticut’s contribution to the retired teachers’ health insurance fund may very well take the cake. (See link)

But election years will have wondrous impacts on politicians.

As Keith Phaneuf reports in yesterday’s CT Mirror, Governor Malloy is now offering, “modest tax breaks for retired CT teachers.

As Phaneuf explains;

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed a second round of tax cuts Friday, including a new income tax break for retired teachers that could provide a strategic edge in his re-election bid.


The Democratic governor, who has clashed with public school teachers on several issues in recent years, expanded his recent efforts to extend an olive branch.

It took the form Friday of a two-stage break on state income taxes for retired teachers.

Malloy’s proposal specifically would exempt 25 percent of retired teachers’ pensions from state income taxes retroactive to Jan. 1.

That exemption would climb to 50 percent in January 2015. The annual cost to the state of this once it is fully implemented would be $23.7 million per year.

Malloy rejected suggestions this was an election-year overture to a key part of his base, noting that most retired teachers aren’t eligible to receive Social Security benefits. There are about 23,000 retired teachers living in Connecticut.

“All I’m trying to do is equalize that unfair treatment,” he said, calling teachers “vital public servants.”

However, Wait,What? readers know Connecticut will be facing a combined $3.2 billion dollar deficit in the three years following the next election.

The tax cuts Malloy proposed on Friday, “would add more than $50 million to the nearly $1 billion shortfall projected for the first state budget after the election.”

While Malloy claims that his “election-year” offer to retired teachers is not related to the fact that it is an election year, readers may want to go back and re-read the Wait, What? blogs entitled; Define fiscally and morally irresponsible? Malloy’s plan for older, retired teachers and Heck, with an average age of 75, retired teachers may not even remember it was Malloy’s proposal

Here is the first of those posts – this one dated February 21, 2012

There are a lot of crazy, irresponsible and down-right mean things in Governor Malloy’s budget proposal, but his plan to totally eliminate Connecticut’s contribution to the retired teachers’ health insurance fund may very well take the cake.

For nearly sixty years, the State of Connecticut has been helping retired teachers acquire health insurance.

Prior to 1986, active teachers did not pay into the Federal Medicare system, so when they retired, they didn’t qualify for Medicare, the primary health insurance system for older Americans.

Furthermore, since teacher salaries were historically so low prior to the educational enhancement act of 1986, older teachers were retiring with very small pensions.  With no Medicare and limited incomes, few could afford the most basic level of health insurance coverage, without some type of subsidy.

For nearly 4 decades, the State of Connecticut utilized a variety of different mechanisms to help these older, retired teachers get some health insurance.  In 1991 it settled on the creation of the Retired Teachers Health Insurance Fund.

To fund the program, active teachers contribute 1.2 percent of their income into the health fund.  This year that amounts to about $45 million.

The premiums that retired teachers pay for their insurance brings in about $37 million.

And state law required that the State of Connecticut contribute 33 percent of the cost of a Medicare supplement plan into the Insurance Fund.

Together these funds were used to help retired teachers get health insurance through the Teacher’s Retirement Board or through their last employing board of education.  The subsidy isn’t much, only $110 per month, and despite the massive increase in health insurance premium costs, the subsidy hasn’t been increased since 2000.  The Teachers Retirement Board has determined that the $110 subsidy “now covers “on average” only 14% of the monthly premium for the retiree, further eroding the value of the retiree’s pension.

But as bad as things have become, even the $110 helped a little as these retired teachers were forced to shell out of their own pockets an additional $500 to $900 a month to buy insurance through their former boards of education.

Meanwhile, some towns are engaging in a whole separate effort to change the rules and unfairly force teachers off their municipal plans, but I’ll cover that growing problem under a separate post.

In any case, for good or for bad, the present system has been functioning fairly well.

And then to balance the state budget in Fiscal year 2010 and 2011, Governor Rell and the Democrats decided to insert language that allowed the state to forgo any contribution for two years.  The lack of funding created a situation that began to derail the financial stability of the Retired Teachers Health Insurance Fund.

When Governor Malloy was sworn in, rather than recommit the state to the appropriate level of funding, he proposed shifting the burden onto the backs of the retired teachers.  The Legislature rightfully rejected the move, but “compromised” by agreeing to only allocate 25% of the value of a Medicare supplement plan rather than the 33% required by the law.

While the state did deposit $35 million in Fiscal Year 2012 and $18 million in Fiscal Year 2013, by refusing to deposit the appropriate amount the Fund was, yet again, undermined.

And then came this year…

Malloy went for broke and proposed simply making no payments what-so-ever into the fund.


This Governor, who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility, proposing that the state simply forgo putting $70 million into the Retired Teachers Health Insurance Fund.

Here are the facts;

In 2012 the Teacher Retirement Board health plan was serving 18,804 retired teachers

In 2012, the Teacher Retirement Board was also paying the town subsidy on behalf of 16,725 retired teachers.

The average age of the retired teacher on the Teacher Retirement Board’s plan is 75 years old.

These teachers received a $0 cost of living adjustment in their pensions in 2010 and 2011.

The Governor’s plan is simply outrageous.

The Connecticut General Assembly eventually modified Malloy’s plan, but in the end, Connecticut’s retired teachers were still shortchanged and hurt thanks to the Governor who now says, “ All I’m trying to do is equalize that unfair treatment [of these] vital public servants.”

Does Governor Malloy think retired teachers will forget how he targeted them in last year’s budget proposal or does he think they are simply to stupid to catch on to his latest scheme.

For more on the issue, here is this year’s CT Mirror story: and here is some information from CT Mirror about Malloy’s plan last year:

  • JMC

    Thank you Jon. I’ll try to make this even simpler. Anyone please correct me.
    Until last Spring the most that the State of Connecticut paid into any form of Health Plan of any kind for retired teachers was $60 per month. That’s it. $60. Last Spring Malloy’s budget reduced that amount to $0.
    If a retired teacher DID qualify for Social Security, like me, that $60 represented 33% of the cost per month of a Stirling Benefits Medicare Parts C & D Plan. Another 33% or $60 was paid by the teacher and the final 33% or $60 by the State Teachers Retirement Board, to which the teacher had contributed during his/her career.
    The Dem legislature after feverish lobbying by teachers finally succeeded last Spring in getting the 0% amount to be contributed by the State of CT bumped back up to 25%, but not back to 33%. We are grateful to these legislators.

    • JMC

      I also believe it is the case that if the State of CT had not contributed that 25%, the Federal Gov’t. would have withheld matching funds, which would have pulled the whole edifice into a Death Spiral.

    • jonpelto

      Yes, that is correct. Many towns are forcing retired teachers off of their plans and onto the state “fall-back”. The cost of that is far, far, far in excess of what this mini-tax break will provide. Democratic elected officials are constantly talking about their commitment to Social Security and Medicare. At the same time, these same Democrats have proposed changes that increase the cost and reduce access for retired teachers —- and his solution is to offer them a limited tax break while premiums get to the point that some retired teachers literally can’t afford to pay for the health insurance they were promised.

    • UnionMama

      Teachers who stay on their BOE insurance plan because they don’t qualify for Medicare get a $110 a month subsidy from the STRB.

  • Castles Burning

    This comment is tangential and yet I think essential. There is no existing relationship between Governor Malloy and most teachers. We are not “vital public servants” as he is quoted as saying in The CT Mirror. He has dismissed us time and time again (Jonathan can provide a full accounting.) and indeed “sold us down the river”
    by maintaining someone as ill-prepared and philosophically-opposed to PUBLIC EDUCATION as Stephan Pryor (who has dismissed CT experts in education and hired only those who know nothing about education with very limited credentials–(having
    to stretch the word to make it even apply).

    Teachers have been insulted repeatedly in action, mandate, and word by Malloy and Pryor who are whole-heartedly following the dictates of Obama and Duncan, especially in urban areas where we see the impetus towards more and more charter (NOT PUBLIC) schools (read BUSINESS and PROFITS). The key point that I would like to suggest to those writing about these
    issues is that Malloy and Pryor are out to annihilate teaching as a viable and worthy profession. Hence, no relationship.

    Keith Phaneuf, you may have the best intentions, but Malloy is
    not “Reaching out to teachers,” except in the crude way of thinking that he can “buy” their vote. When you write, “The Democratic governor, who has clashed with public school teachers on several issues in recent years, expanded his recent efforts to extend an olive branch,” you think that the image works. It does not. The teachers are not at war with Malloy, which is not to say that they do not support him politically or even morally. I think most would like to forget that he and his and Obama/Duncan’s policies exist and get on with the real business of teaching, which is severely being impeding.

    I would suggest that the correct description is not war but annihilation as in the clear, calculated destruction of a once venerable PROFESSION. The degree (no pun intended) to which
    teachers are consummate professionals seems lost in most discussion where many think that they can weigh in, as has been noted often before, because they went to school once.

    This war image recalled to mind Terry Cowgill’s recent “Malloy And Teachers:Time To Kiss And Make Up?,” which
    also does not recognize that there is no relationship. Those who are being annihilated are on the receiving end of destructive actions. I am not saying that teachers are passive and not responding to actions taken against them, students, and parents, but “protest” or “pro-action” does not a relationship or war make.

    Those who seem to be in relationship with Malloy are the teachers’ unions who do not poll their members or consult them when “speaking” for them. Indeed, I would say that many
    teachers are not in relationship with their own union and that is the sad state of labor in education. And education
    labor unions, do not be fooled that you too are not on the list for

    It has become all too clear and devastating to see how little effort it takes to destroy the workings of public schools, even—or perhaps especially—those deemed by outsiders as not performing very well.

    To read Terry D. Cowgill’s recent piece, see:

    Those who are reporting on these very complex issues would be well-served to stop making inaccurate descriptions of the state of the state between Connecticut teachers at large and Governor Malloy. Sincere apologies for the liberties taken in “assuming”
    that I can speak for a large group of people, some of whom do not feel this way or have not been paying close enough attention. I was one of the latter until about three years ago.

    • jonpelto

      Could not have said it better myself, May I use your comment as a post. It seems like I could refer to you as a Connecticut educator

    • Linda174

      Bravo CB, you certainly captured my thoughts and quite eloquently.

    • R.L.

      “Those who seem to be in relationship with Malloy are the teachers’ unions” You got that right. I was at the Southeast Legislative Meeting this morning in Waterford and the mantra of union officers who were involved seemed to be “Malloy couldn’t possibly be as bad as the alterantive.” I was talking with one representative about how bad Malloy is and how he has become unelectable. I was told by one of the organizers that we were not there to discuss such matters.

  • Guest

    Impeach this Mo##$# F$%Qer! Impeach him now! He’s 100 times more crooked than Rowland ever was or will be. He’s 100 times more crooked than Ganim and Ernie and yet here is Malloy up in Hartford on the take with the Education Reform Industry and getting away with robbery and child abuse. I demand an investigation into this administrations’ corruption and I demand it now! I’m tired of this!

  • mookalaboona

    He honestly believes he can win the teacher vote back. I don’t know who is campaign manager is, but they are shooting themselves in the foot and making him look more ridiculous than he already is. Thanks for writing this Jonathan.

  • joek

    here’s one retired teacher who will not vote for malloy or anyone connected with him even if he repealed the w.e.p. law. he has lost my trust. i can’t believe this is happening in ct. 2014 will be the turning point for our state and the country. time to decide where and how you want to live…

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