Malloy to retired teachers – No really I do respect you, just not that much….

Three months ago, in a move to try and “win over” the support of retired teachers, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy proposed a targeted tax break designed to benefit those who spent their careers teaching in Connecticut’s public schools.

In February, the vote-seeking governor explained his support for the partial tax break on teacher pensions by saying, “All I’m trying to do is equalize that unfair treatment.” Malloy added, at the time, that teachers were “vital public servants.”

However, it now looks like Malloy is about to back off his proposed tax break for this year.

The news that Malloy is reneging on his promise to give retired teachers a tax break will come as no surprise to Connecticut’s active and retired teachers.

Since taking over in January 2011, Governor Malloy has consistently sought to undermine and denigrate teachers, retired teachers and the teaching profession.

Sadly, retired teachers have been a special target for the Malloy administration antics.

In February 2012 Governor Dannel Malloy proposed reducing Connecticut’s contribution for an individual teacher’s health care premium from one-third to one-quarter of the set amount to help teachers pay for their health insurance. Malloy’s plan would have cost retired teachers more while saving the state $7.5 million a year.

At the time, Malloy’s budget chief said,

“This will encourage them to stick with their local [health] plans…”

Despite the obvious and significant problems facing Connecticut’s health care system for retired teachers, Malloy’s budget chief blithely claimed that the change would not limit retired teachers from getting insurance. (A statement that was far from true).

A year later, in January 2013, Malloy was back to assault retired teachers again.

As the CT Mirror reported at the time,

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is asking legislators to eliminate the state’s contribution for retired teachers’ health benefits in the upcoming budget, a move that would save the state $70.7 million and help close a yawning deficit.  [Note: The retired teachers’ health care plan helps approximately 35,000 retired teachers and their spouses with a portion of their health care insurance].

“I have to put down a budget… I think we have given the right outline of what the budget should look like,” Malloy said in response to a question about the proposed cut.

But the leader of the Teachers’ Retirement Board, the state agency that manages the health plan, reports this cut would put the plan’s funding at a “dangerous level” in two years.

“The fund is in serious jeopardy… If the cost is just left to teachers, then the plan will collapse,” said Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the Connecticut Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union.

Stephen McKeever, vice president of the state’s other teachers’ union, agrees.

“This proposal amounts to a breach of the contract entered into,” said McKeever, of the state chapter of the American Federation of Teachers and who testified before the Appropriations Committee last month. “It’s cruel. Balancing the budget on the backs of retired teachers is just plain wrong.”

The Connecticut General Assembly ended up putting some of the money back into the budget.

But this year, faced with a tough re-election campaign, Malloy changed course completely and proposed an “income tax break for retired teachers.”

As the CT Mirror reported this time,

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.

But here we are 90 days later and Malloy’s budget gimmicks and rosy revenue projections have caught up with him.

With the General Assembly careening toward its final day of the 2014 legislative session on May 7th, 2014, watch for Malloy to change his proposed tax break for retired teachers.  Instead of having it take place this year, as promised, Malloy is likely to push off the effective date of the change until at least next year.

That way he can go into the fall campaign claiming that he still gave teachers a tax break, but the break won’t take effect until after the election…when the state will be facing a $1.4 billion-dollar deficit.

Retired teachers are some of the smartest members of the Connecticut electorate.  Few will fall for a politician who has set up a fight in which the promised tax break for retired teachers can only be fulfilled if the next governor and legislature are willing to push through a massive tax increase.

The sad truth is that Malloy’s disdain for teachers and teaching appears to have no boundaries.

  • buygoldandprosper

    Dan is the working mans friend every four years.
    Just wait… if he gets another four years the previous four will look delightful!
    It will be hard for some to vote “outside the box” being creatures of habit, but the Devil we know is NOT as good as the Devil we do not.
    ANYONE BUT MALLOY in 2014!!

    • buygoldandprosper

      “Tom Foley called Friday for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget chief to step down for not foreseeing the huge drop in the state’s projected budget surplus.”

      Ugh! Foley just comes up short…
      While I absolutely agree with him is this the best he can do?He is a typical lazy Greenwich moneybags and he better get off his arse and work for the office!
      Ben Barnes? No problem with finding a job. His wife will snag him something in Milford. That’s her thing…getting city jobs for relatives.

  • mookalaboona

    He is the biggest jerk and excuse for a governor I have ever seen. We have to get him out.

  • brutus2011

    I think Jon nailed it when he post that Malloy respects teachers–just not that much.

    I remember that not too long ago the banker husband of the CEO of one of our premier charter school organizations posted essentially the same sentiment–teachers are to be valued, just don’t get carried away because they are not the best and brightest.

    If I had not gone through a university ed program and actually had my own classrooms, it is conceivable that I might hold that view–many non-teachers do.

    However, after a short time on the job, I realized that my internships and student teaching experience was just the tip of the iceburg and I was in deep doo-doo. So I did what most of us do, I worked my tail off and got the job done. I mean, how could I not with 120+ kids depending on me whether they consciously knew it or not?

    It will remain one of the true mysteries of life–how could a group of folks like teachers manage to bear the blame for societal ills?

    Thanks, Danny-boy for helping out!

  • Gloria A. Brown

    As President of CEA-Retired, I am very disappointed- but not really surprised- that the Governor is backing off on the promise he made to us.

    • Gloria A. Brown

      Guess he no longer wants or needs our votes- HA!

    • Sleepless in Bridgeport

      My question is why is it that the CEA hasn’t posted up a discussion site or blog site for teachers to reference and contribute to. Instead they issue propaganda that makes it look like they are being paid off to blindly support the outrage that is going on in Hartford. I am a liberal Republican who voted for Malloy because my fellow teachers told me he was the best choice for teachers. Talk about drinking the Cool Aid.

    • mookalaboona

      I would say as president of CEA-Retired…you need to sound the alarm to our leadership in CEA. We’re not getting the true picture….and meanwhile on the CEA Facebook page all we get is propoganda!

    • Linda174

      Gloria, if you have the ear of Sheila or Jeff, please ask them to endorse policies that are best for children not one candidate, namely Malloy. Thank you.

      • ReTired

        CEA should not endorse ANY candidate! Take an election off and let’s see what happens!

  • JMC

    Until fiscal year 2012, the maximum amount the State contributed toward retired teachers’ health care of any kind (Local Board enabled care or Medicare parts C and D) was $60 per month. That’s all. Starting in February of 2011 for the 2012 Fiscal budget, Malloy and Barnes allocated next to nothing in their budget for this care, and recently have put Nada, Nothing at all in the budget for it. The funds have been restored by our Legislators each year, but never back up to the $60 per month.

    • Philip Stull

      Does anyone know how many retired CT teachers get Medicare? I would guess less than half. It would also be interesting to find out how many of them get SS and how much their benefit has been cut because of WEP.

      • JMC

        Well, anyone who gets SS automatically gets Medicare too if they want it. I am one of those.

        • Philip Stull

          Did you take a big hit in your SS benefit?

        • JMC

          Yes, but I wasn’t going to get a lot anyway. I barely made the 40 quarters = 10 yrs. of SS participation to qualify. Re: elimination of the WEP advocated by many groups. It’s not going to happen. In 2009, 301 of the House’s 485 members (62%) signed on as co-sponsors of a bill to eliminate the WEP. The bill never got out of committee. And it never will.

        • JMC

          Sorry, make that 301 out of 435 Reps, or 69%. See http://www.theeducatorsretirement.com/2009/07/windfall-elimation-repeal.html

  • Charlie Puffers

    In November Malloy will learn he has been f***ing with the wrong badass groups.

  • almost outta here

    This is not a problem for me as I plan to retire to ANOTHER state where there is NO INCOME TAX on retirement.

  • buygoldandprosper

    The budget …”fails to include $51.6 million to cover contractually required health insurance costs for retired workers.”

    This from a CTMIRROR article…and the administration’s response?

    “Barnes has rejected Lembo and OFA’s assessment”
    Dan played this game down in Stamford. Another gimmick he accused his predecessors of playing. Let somebody else worry about honest government and tackling tough issues…Dan has a job to do, which is run for the next office and run from the problems he caused.

  • buygoldandprosper

    “While he acknowledged the state’s contractual obligation to pay retiree health care costs during an interview in mid-March, he said, “We’re not convinced we’re going to need those funds. We’re convinced we’re going to live within the budget we proposed.”
    Barnes said there is potential to reduce health care costs through various efficiencies, including savings from a new dental services contract award.”
    AND DON’T FOGET THAT SUGESTION BOX! THAT SAVES AT LEAST $200 MILLION!