Keating Our Choice In 10Th

Keating Our Choice In 10Th
Keating Our Choice In 10Th

NOVEMBER 2010 VOICE: It is not often that our Association becomes involved in a Congressional race. However, because of what is at stake in the 10th Congressional District, the distinction between the two candidates presents such a stark contrast to our Association's values that is newsworthy to all members. Also, because of what is at stake in this race, it has drawn national attention and this nationwide media spotlight will shine even brighter as November 2 approaches.

Although we are a non-partisan organization, the Democrat in the race, Bill Keating, espouses our Association's opposition to mandatory Social Security, which if ever enacted would destroy the Commonwealth's defined benefit pension plan.

The chosen Republican in the race, Sandwich State Representative Jeff Perry, has made support of mandatory Social Security for all public employees, including Massachusetts, a major priority in his Social Security platform.

Under Social Security, both the active employee and employer are each required to contribute 6.2% of the employee's annual salary (up to a salary of $106,800) into the federal Social Security system. For the Commonwealth, as well as local communities, this payment would represent nearly $100 million a year in Social Security payments.

Ongoing payments by the government into our state's defined benefit pension system currently represent 3.8% of active employee payroll. Today's active employees contribute upwards of 10% of their total annual salary into the pension system, thus funding the majority - if not all - of their pension themselves.

To maintain the current DB system and Social Security, active employees would be forced to contribute 16.2% of their annual salary. The government contribution, funded through taxes, would be upwards of 10% of payroll, more than doubling the current obligation of 3.8%.

Joining Social Security also does not relieve the state and local governments of their obligation to fund the employers' share of the current pension benefit. As the Supreme Judicial Court has previously ruled, current retirees and employees have a constitutional right to receive their vested pension benefit.

"Perry's position would not only be a crushing blow to our defined benefit system, but would also prove financially crippling to the taxpayers. By all accounts the government's retirement payment would more than double," said Association President Ralph White. "Bill Keating, on the other hand, understands how our system works. He's vowed to support strengthening Social Security for future generations without the need for radical changes that will harm our state."

"Bill was invaluable to our Association's legislative program during the years he served as a State Representative and later as a Senator, before becoming District Attorney of Norfolk County.

"He was not an automatic yes man for the Senate President - their differences were well-publicized - and will not be reticent to differ with the House Speaker in Washington, should an occasion arise. His position on the Social Security Windfall and Offset laws is clear. He intends to be an activist to repeal these laws, which are so devastating to our members."