SOCIAL SECURITY ENTERS CRITICAL STAGE

When
the 106th Congress convenes this month, Social Security reform will
continue to pose more questions than answers. Unfortunately, that
remains true when it comes to mandatory Social Security for new public
employees.

“We’re entering a very
critical stage in the process,” according to legislative chairman Bill
Hill. “Nothing of real substance has been resolved and everything is
still on the table, including mandatory coverage.”

While
the status of mandatory Social Security remains unclear, the
Association continues its work with The Mass. Coalition to Preserve
Retirement Security. “Our efforts on this issue are part of a national
strategy aimed solely at the defeat of mandatory Social Security,”
reports Hill.

Financial Stakes Are High

As
the financial stakes continue to rise for Massachusetts, public pension
officials are pursuing every available avenue to avoid mandatory
coverage. Central to our state’s lobbying effort is making a convincing
argument to the White House that Massachusetts should not be used as a
federal revenue source.

Tom
Lussier, executive director of the Teachers’ Retirement System,
continues to spearhead Massachusetts’ effort in conjunction with The
Coalition To Preserve Retirement Security. Treasurer Mike Donoghue and
Lussier, together with PERAC Exec. Dir. Bob Stalnaker, Commissioners
Ken Donnelly (Sec./Treas. Professional Firefighters) and Don Marquis
(Town Manager, Arlington), met with White House officials. Donough
arranged the meeting with Karen Tramontano, who serves as Assistant to
the President and Council to the Chief of Staff. Tramontano is viewed
as a key aide to President Clinton and will play a significant role in
the pending presidential campaign of Vice President Al Gore.

“There
has finally been some movement within the White House to sit down and
listen to our concerns. I think the President realizes how important
this issue is to Massachusetts,” said Donoghue. “The purposes of our
meeting was to convey to the White House that mandatory coverage does
not solve Social Security’s long-term problems. I think the White House
is developing an understanding of where we are coming from.”

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