Tuesday, January 13, 2015

RH Jones: ORSC to try to take back 13th check?

From RH Jones, January 13, 2015

On page 2 of the Winter 2015 ORTA Quarterly, Ann Hanning reports last in her list of the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC): “removing the authority of the STRS board to issue a 13th check.” This is not the first time that the ORSC has considered backing the 13th check take away legislation. In 2004, the ORSC tried to “take back” this lawful benefit; and, if you readers would remember, on 10/19/2001, ORTA’s Executive Director of that time, David P. Travis, spoke before the STRS board in support of the 13th check (the Year-end [Christmas] Supplemental Clean-up check).

Time and space do not permit me to expound on all the benefits to this wonderful financial supplement; but, in short, I can write that: this is the only single benefit available to all STRS retirees fairly based the issuance, by a retiree friendly STRS board, of from 1 to 11-units, then multiplied on their professional years of service and years into retirement. Obviously, the older retirees who are retired with a considerably less final average salary (FAS) are the ones who need this Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) “on the books” the most; many of whom are experiencing large increases in nursing home or home care costs, HC/Rx costs, and increased taxes.
We retired teachers expect the ORSC, our ORTA, OEA-R, and our locals to support the keeping of our 13th check in the O.R.C. And we retired teachers understand that there is a need to improve funding for our HC/Rx and our simple calculated COLA. However, it is common knowledge that the 13th check can be issued yearly, determined by the STRS board as future funding becomes available. There should be, therefore, no reason to cut this benefit from the O.R.C. 
Respectfully submitted,
Bob Jones, retired OH teacher
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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