Thursday, May 10, 2012

Charts, charts and MORE charts!

You'll see a lot about STRS income and outgo as it affected you in the past, is affecting you now, and will affect you in the future! Click here and scroll down. May 10, 2012

eUpdate from STRS re: pension legislation

From STRS, May 10, 2012
Pension Legislation Introduced, Stakeholders Testify in Support
Monday, the Ohio Senate unveiled four pension reform legislation bills co-sponsored by Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) and Minority Leader Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati). The bill that addresses STRS Ohio's pension reform initiatives is Senate Bill 342. Click here to view thePension Plan Reform Update document that contains details of the STRS Ohio plan to strengthen the financial condition of the retirement system.
At a hearing to introduce the bills on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Niehaus thanked the pension systems for helping to advance the legislation. He thanked the co-sponsor noting "how important pension reform is for all members of the Senate," and added, "Protecting the retirement incomes and health benefits of public employees is not a partisan issue."
Later in the session, STRS Ohio Executive Director Michael Nehf, along with the executive directors of the School Employees Retirement System, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund provided testimony to the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee in support of the bill. Mr. Nehf's testimony acknowledged that "without changes, STRS Ohio will eventually be unable to pay benefits" and that "the State Teachers Retirement Board's action was taken to uphold its fiduciary duty to the members and retirees of our system." Furthermore, he stated that the "pension reform plan maintains a 1% employer contribution to the health care fund and allows the Retirement Board to continue working on a long-term strategic health care plan." Click here to view his complete testimony, which is also available on the STRS Ohio website.
Wednesday, the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee heard further testimony on the pension bills, including testimony from STRS Ohio constituents in support of S.B. 342. Ohio Senate leaders had previously told STRS Ohio that they wanted to see broad constituent support for the system's reform plan before taking action. Supporting testimony acknowledged that while the changes are difficult they are necessary to strengthen the financial condition of the retirement system.
Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Minerva Park), committee chairman, has indicated there will be another Senate hearing on the pension reform legislation bills on Tuesday, May 15. STRS Ohio will continue to use its website, newsletters and email news service to provide timely updates about the progress of this important legislation.

STRS calls special board meeting for May 15

From STRS, May 10, 2012
A special meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, for the purpose of discussing Long-Term Fiduciary and Financial Contingency Planning, pension reform legislation and any other matters that may arise. The meeting will be held at the STRS Ohio offices in Columbus, Ohio.

My, my...something I forgot to mention......

From John Curry, May 10, 2012
Remember how, when STRS was considering (several years ago at a meeting that CORE members and I attended with Michael Nehf and several board members) but not applying the 1% COLA cut to those retirees with very low annual retirements the end......didn't develop the compassion that the Highway Patrol did with their lowest pensioned retirees? Remember how STRS was "concerned" about how the STRS pension was possibly not the only income that these lowest retirees had? I do!!!!!!!

See Col. Rice's comments here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

STRS board to meet May 16-17, 2012

From STRS, May 9, 2012
The State Teachers Retirement Board and Committee meetings currently scheduled at the STRS Ohio offices, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, are as follows:
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
 ...10 a.m. Disability Review Panel and Final Average Salary Committee (Executive Session)
Thursday, May 17, 2012
 ...9 a.m. Audit Committee Meeting, followed by Retirement Board Meeting
The Retirement Board meeting will come to order on Thursday, May 17, 2012, and begin with a Report From the Investment Department followed by the Executive Director's Report, public participation, Long-Term Fiduciary and Financial Contingency Planning, a Report From the Member Benefits Department - Health Care, routine matters, old business, new business and any other matters requiring attention.
John Curry: Just talked to Col.(Ret) Tom Rice of the Ohio Highway Patrol Retirement System and obtained some interesting facts.
From John Curry, May 9, 2012
Col. Rice related that there are approximately 1,500 retired OHP Retirement System trooper benefits recipients. Of that 1,500 retired troopers 203 of them are receiving a pension that is below the "poverty line" of $27,990.50 (see letter below). He said of those 203 that 170 of them are age 65 or over.
I thanked him for his system's COMPASSION for these retirees and also advised him that STRS has thousands of retirees in this same situation AND THAT STRS (UNLIKE THE OHP) DID NOT EXEMPT THEM FROM THE 1% COLA cut. Believe me...he was aware of that also! NOW IS THE TIME TO CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND LET HIM/HER KNOW ABOUT THIS INEQUITY. Remember....THEY WON'T MAKE A DECISION UNTIL AFTER THE ELECTION IN NOVEMBER.
Tom Rice to John Curry, April 23, 2012 
Subject: RE: COLA cut
Good morning. I saw your question regarding the qualifiers for older retirees and wanted to get back to you with an answer. Below is the proposed language contained in HB 69. The 2012, Federal Poverty rate for a family of two is $15,130.00. One hundred and eighty-five percent of: ($15,130.00 X 1.85) = $27,990.50. As it is proposed right now, OSP [Ohio State Patrol] retirees (age 65 years or older - see below) earning less than $ 27,990.50 per year will continue to receive a 3% COLA. We feel pretty comfortable that this provision will remain in the proposed legislation. I hope this answers your question. If not, please call me. 614-430-3553 or cell phone [xxx].
(a) For each person sixty-five years of age or older who is receiving a pension not greater than one hundred eighty-five per cent of the federal poverty level for a family of two persons, as revised annually by the United States department of health and human services in accordance with section 673(2) of the "Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981," 95 Stat. 511, 42 U.S.C. 9902, as amended, the board shall increase the pension by three per cent.
(b) For persons other than those described in division (B) (1) (a) of this section, the board shall increase the pension by two per cent, except that for any calendar year in which the actuarial valuation required by section 5505.12 of the Revised Code demonstrates that a period of thirty years or less is required to amortize the state highway patrol retirement system's unfunded actuarial accrued pension liabilities, the board may increase the pension to not more than three per cent.
Take care,
Col. (ret.) Thomas W. Rice, Consultant 
Highway Patrol Retirement System

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Foot dragging by Ohio's legislators is costing Ohio pension funds $2 million per day?

From John Curry, May 8, 2012
....and they've been delaying for at least two years now? Let's see...what is 365 days X 2 years X 2 million dollars per day?
Ohio public pension changes get moving in Senate
By Julie Carr Smyth, AP Statehouse Correspondent 
May 8, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTW) — The Ohio Senate has fast-tracked legislation stabilizing Ohio's public pension funds, with both parties supporting passage of four landmark bills as early as next week.
The Ohio House is unlikely to move the bills until at least summer, as lawmakers there wait for results of a state-commissioned study on the retirement systems.
Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus (NEE'-hows) and Senate Democratic Leader Eric Kearney said Tuesday that it's time to move the bills. The funds are losing as much as $2 million a day during the delay.
The bills contain fiscal adjustments in premiums and payouts that officials say are necessary to secure retiree benefits long-term for teachers, firefighters, police and other public workers.
Ohio has some of the largest public pension funds in the nation.

Thank you, CORE members.....

.....for your participation with the anti-public educator Buckeye Institute website re. teacher pensions. Even this favorite website of the Teabaggers failed to muster any significant challenge to your comments listed at the end of the anti-public pension article. Here is the link to that article and your comments at the end of it! You make me proud!
From John Curry, May 7, 2012
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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