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PENSION BILL IMPACTS RETIREMENT SYSTEMS

Legislation Contains Governance Reforms

NOVEMBER 7, 2011:  Pension reform legislation, now before a House & Senate Conference Committee, not only contains significant changes to retirement benefits for future employees, but also to the administration and governance of the Commonwealth’s 105 retirement systems.

HOUSE PASSES PENSION REFORM 3

COLA Base Increase & Retiree Benefits Included

NOVEMBER 4, 2011: Phase III of Pension Reform has now passed the House with a unanimous vote to further alter the public pension benefit structure for future employees. In addition to future benefit changes (affecting those first hired on or after July 1, 2012), the House plan seeks a series of benefit enhancements for current retirees.

REVISED BENEFIT STRUCTURE FOR NEW HIRES

House Looks To Reward Career Employees At 30 Years

NOVEMBER 4, 2011: A key component of the Pension Reform bill (H3787), passed by the House this past week, is the creation of a new retirement formula for those employees hired on or after July 1, 2012. Like the Senate, the House has also increased the full retirement age by 2 years for each group (67/62/57).

2012 MEDICARE PART B RATES ANNOUNCED

Monthly Premium of $99.90 Begins in January

OCTOBER 28, 2011: The federal government has announced that the standard Medicare Part B premium for 2012 will be $99.90 per month. Under the Medicare program, eligible retirees are responsible for 25% of the total cost of Part B, with the federal government subsidizing the remaining 75%.

Medicare Part B Premiums for 2012 Lower Than Projected

Medscape Medical News

October 28, 2011 — More prudent use of medical services and tougher competition among healthcare providers has slowed the growth of Medicare spending, allowing for Part B premiums to be lower than projected, federal health officials said yesterday.

Arlington, Medford, Somerville, Wakefield Move To Gic

Retirees Must Chose Plan By October 26

OCTOBER 21, 2011: Open enrollment is now underway for retirees, survivors and active employees from the towns of Arlington, Medford, Somerville and Wakefield, communities that will join the state’s Group Insurance Commission on January 1, 2012.

Members from these communities only have until Wednesday, October 26, 2011 to chose which GIC insurance plan to enroll. Those, who miss the enrollment deadline, will no longer have health insurance coverage after the January 1 transfer date.

Social Security Beneficiaries to Receive 3.6% Increase

Fifty-five million Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment next year, the U.S. government said today.

The COLA increase, the first since 2009, takes effect in January. Eight million Americans participating in the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides cash assistance to the blind and disabled poor, will receive the same 3.6 percent boost.

RETIREMENT BOARDS TO CONVENE

RETIREMENT BOARDS TO CONVENE

Scibak Will Be Guest Speaker

OCTOBER 7, 2011: The Mass. Association of Contributory Retirement Systems (MACRS) will hold its fall conference this
October 16-19 at the Sheraton Springfield Hotel.

Officials and staff of our state's 105 retirement boards representing all of the Commonwealth's retirement systems will tackle an agenda that is headed by "Pension Reform" the Governor's top priority bill (S2018) which is expected to be enacted by the Legislature within the next month.

HOUSE EYES MID-OCTOBER PENSION REFORM DEBATE

Increased State & Teacher COLA Base Considered

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011: House leaders are eyeing mid-October to begin debate on the latest proposal to further reform the state's defined benefit pension plan. Earlier this month the Senate overwhelmingly passed S2018, which would bring about major changes to retirement benefits of employees hired after January 1, 2012.

Some reform is better than none at all

Newburyport News Editorial

Bottom line for the pension reform bill currently before the Legislature: Since changes would affect only those hired into government service after Jan. 1, 2012, anyone offered employment with the state who felt they could get a better deal elsewhere would be free to turn the job down.

OVER 500 ATTEND ANNUAL MEETING

OVER 500 ATTEND ANNUAL MEETING

Special Recognition to 10th Anniversary of 9/11

SEPTEMBER 20, 2011: With the nation preparing to recognize the 10th anniversary of 9/11, two days prior to that date our Association's 43rd Annual Meeting, over 500 members gathered on September 9th and in our own way, we opened the meeting with a remembrance of that never-to-be forgotten day.

Don't add to pension problem by upping cost-of-living raises

Boston Globe Editorial

MASSACHUSETTS NEEDS another round of public-pension reforms. Though Beacon Hill has made progress in curbing the worst abuses of the system, public-pension systems still have billions of dollars more in liabilities than they have money to pay for them. Bond rating agencies have made it clear that unless Beacon Hill comes to grips with the problem, the Commonwealth's ability to borrow money will suffer. And while the bill that cleared the Senate Thursday will help in several important ways, it also exacerbates the problem in others.

SENATE PASSES CONTROVERISAL PENSION REFORM III

SENATE PASSES CONTROVERISAL PENSION REFORM III

State/Teacher COLA Fight Shifts To House

SEPTEMBER 16, 2011: Yesterday, the State Senate passed its version of Pension Reform (S2010), closely resembling Governor Patrick's reform legislation, which he filed with the Legislature this past spring.

Foundation Urges Passage of Meaningful Pension Reforms

Mass Taxpayers Foundation Report

In a presentation to PERAC's Emerging Issues Forum and a letter to state senators, the Foundation highlights the urgency of passing legislation to reform the pension system for state and municipal employees.

Wisconsin Parallels Seen In Local Health Care Fight

Wisconsin Parallels Seen In Local Health Care Fight

Retirees Must Have Voice In Process

The battle, now being waged in Wisconsin over the rights of public employees to collectively bargain, should come as no surprise to Association members. As we have been reporting for some time, there is a growing national movement to reduce and alter the health care and defined benefit pensions of public employees and retirees.

Unions may cede bargain power here

Gov. Deval Patrick -- who this week appeared before throngs of union protesters in a show of support for public unions in Wisconsin -- has proposed legislation that will ask public unions here to cede some bargaining leverage to save cities and towns millions of dollars in health insurance costs, the MetroWest Daily News reports.

Tackling health costs requires coordinated effort

EDITORIAL  Gov. Deval Patrick has set the ambitious goal of reducing by $1 billion the projected health care expenditures in the next fiscal year. While there is reason to doubt whether he’ll be able to meet that target, he has followed up with concrete proposals.

GateHouse News Service Posted Feb 23, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Pension Reform Legislation Filed By Governor Deval Patrick

Pension Reform Legislation Filed By Governor Deval Patrick

Eliminates Early Retirement For Many

FEBRUARY 17, 2011: Governor Deval Patrick has filed legislation, HB35, which creates a new retirement formula for state and local government employees hired after July 1, 2011. At this time the Governor has strong support for reform by both the House and Senate Leaders.

Among a number of changes in our current statute, the Group 1 pension formula, which includes the vast majority of public employees, does not allow retirement until age 60 and changes the 80% maximum formula age from 65 to 67.

Wage War: Government Employees vs. Everybody Else

Public Sector Protesters in Wisconsin Face a Backlash, But Are State Workers Really Overpaid?

Are public workers overpaid? Are their entitlements too cushy, their retirements too rich? How do they compare in overall compensation with their private sector peers?

Bad pension policies should not be grandfathered

EDITORIAL — Lawmakers like to hold up their pension reform measures like they’ve bagged a trophy buck but the persistence of embarrassing tales of retirement bonanzas make their efforts seem less like heroic encounters and more like a game of Whac-A-Mole.

Residents face $20b retiree health tab

Study finds most cities, towns don't put enough aside

Massachusetts residents face potentially devastating tax increases in the coming years to pay health insurance benefits for retired police, firefighters, and other municipal employees, according to a new study that finds the 50 largest cities and towns alone face a retiree health care bill of $20 billion over the next 30 years.

By Sean P. Murphy Globe Staff / February 16, 2011

GIC Unveils Plan To Save $100 Million

Health Fairs Focus On Employee Reenrollment

FEBRUARY 14, 2011: The state's Group Insurance Commission has put plans in place that, if successful, are expected to save the Commonwealth upwards of $100 million for FY12, beginning on July 1, 2011. Under the plan, active state employees, enrolled in one of six limited network low-cost plans offered by the GIC for the coming year will receive free coverage for three months - a so-called "Premium Holiday."

Deck Shuffled For Legislative Leaders

House and Senate Committees Take Shape

February 4, 2011: Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo have each shuffled the deck with a realignment of their respective leadership teams for the new 2011-2012 Legislative Session. Of direct importance to public retirees are the Joint Committee on Public Service, as well as the respective House and Senate Ways and Means Committees.

Governor Proposes Pension Reform III

Would Not Impact Current Retirees

JANUARY 19, 2011: Following on the heels of two previous pension reform packages, Governor Deval Patrick has filed new legislation dubbed "Pension Reform III" that seeks to make the most sweeping changes to our defined benefit pension since the modern program was created generations ago. Members should note that none of the proposals in the bill would have any impact on current retirees, or, for the most part, today's active employees.

New Legislative Session Begins

Bill Filing Underway

JANUARY 4, 2011: Following on the heels of the 112th Congress, which was sworn into office on Monday, the Massachusetts Great and General Court begins its 2011-2012 session on Wednesday. With the lingering effect of the recession continuing to hamper economic growth, the 160 member House and 40 member Senate will surely have their work cut out.