Saturday, July 14, 2012

RH Jones: The ORSC report now before legislature; retired teachers must act fast

From RH Jones, July 14, 2012
To all:
Re: the ORSC report is now before the legislature… retired teachers need to act quickly!
For retired teachers, who are under-represented on our OH STRS board, need to contact these leaders of the OH House:
· William Batchelder, Speaker of the House Representatives:
· Lynn Wachtmann, Vice-chair, OH Retirement Study Council Representative:
· Kirk Schuring, Pension Sub-committee Chair and Ohio Retirement Council Representative:
Tell them that the our two representatives on the STRS board, the ORTA and the OEA-R did not properly represent retired teachers in that they all voted to “call back” thirty-three percent of our non-compounding COLA, recommended taking all of our moderate and simple 3% COLA away in its entirety for one whole year in 2013 … at a time when our moderate Health Care and Prescription have already been reduced down to 1% from the previous 4% of the employer contribution to our STRS. These are the first “call backs” in the history of our STRS that goes back to the year 1920 before the Great Depression of the 1930s.
In particular, those of us who retired before the 88%/35-year ORC [Ohio Revised Code] retirement package that took effect in 1999 are being hurt the worst. This has resulted in a shortening of STRS funds not anticipated at that time, before the Great Recession. If this 2012 year’s “call back” affecting retired teachers passes into ORC, it will put many on Ohio taxpayer-supported public programs that the establishment of our STRS was meant to avoid in the first place almost 100 years ago.
Our STRS funds are showing some successes in returning us to the ORC-mandated 30 year amortizing goal. This is being done in spite of no increase in an employer contribution in a quarter century. Note: in order to stay up with inflation, active teachers had their contributions raised twice in this period of time.
By the way, that majority of legislators who worked on the ORSC are to be congratulated for preservation of Defined Benefits. Wisely, they knew that Defined Contributions would not be a proper answer to funding Ohio’s public employee retirement systems.
A proud CORE member,
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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