Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Teachers Rally for Pension Fund

Teachers from across the state are rallying today to draw attention to the serious plight of the underfunded Teachers' Retirement Fund.
"Right now our pension funding has been declining," says Diane Marinaro, president of the Hamden Education Association. "They're not giving us the 100-percent every year like they should be. Teachers are paying their required amount every paycheck and we expect the state to do the same."

"I have put in 33-years of teaching and when I retire I would like to know that the state has put in its fair share, and I know that they haven't," says teacher Haywoodene Hines.

Teachers do not pay into or receive Social Security, so they count on state-funded pensions. (WTNH)

Sadly, the state hasn't shown much willingness to keep up its end of the bargain. Only a small fraction of the state surplus will be used to fund the retirement fund, even in the most generous plans. At this point many teachers believe that the fund will not be there for them when they retire.

Teachers are so frustrated at the state's inability to keep its promises to them that some are calling for a constitutional amendment which would force the issue:
Right now the fund is more than 5 billion dollars behind, and teachers want the constitutional amendment to guarantee the retirement money will be there when they need it. They say it needs to be taken care of soon, because eventually it's going to cost taxpayers a bundle.

Greenwich Representative Dolly Powers says "by passing a constitutional amendment, the only people who can override the law are the people, they're also the ones who will have the burden. Future generations, our grandchildren and children, those are the ones who will pay the bill if we don't come up with a long term solution now." (WFSB)

A constitutional amendment may be overkill, but the state needs to seriously consider what its going to do about the fund. They've been ignoring it for years--some sort of fix needs to happen soon.

Sources

"Thousands expected at teacher pension rallies." WTNH 29 March, 2006.

"Thousands of Teachers Rally Across State." WFSB 29 March, 2006.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where is Joe Lieberman?

Why won't he hold a public forum?

Why is he doing everything in secrecy, behind closed doors?

Shame on him, really! After helping to march this country into an elective war in Iraq, you'd think he would have the decency to appear in public and answer a few questions.

Is Joe really that scared?

Genghis Conn said...

Boy, are YOU in the wrong post.

Don't I have, like, half a billion posts about the Senate campaign per week anyway? Plus open forums?

Sheesh.

mod.dem.like.jfk said...

GC.

As you said, the kicker to the teachers pension fund is that in CT teachers do not pay (or claim) social security benefits.

Essentially, without the pension fund (which the union had earlier agreed to in contract with the State), they are in trouble.

It may not be a big deal today, retired teachers are still getting their benefits...but as more teachers retire, especially as the boomers retire, there is going to be a tremendous drain on the fund. We either take care of this thing now or we are going to have real problems later.

The real problem is that every year the legislature borrows the money that is suppose to go into the fund and uses it elsewhere, as a result we are short not only each year, but also for the money from years we borrowed plus the interest on that money.

Oh and Annoying anon. I think the Senate is in session, check there.

teachers cry too much said...

We should accept that fully funding the TRB is sound fiscal policy, however, has there ever been an instance of retired teacher not recieving their pension? NO. I have an idea. More teaching less whining.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I know it might cost Genghis some of his Republican readership, but somebody should write about where Joe's money is coming from, and how and why Joe must resort to sneaking around Connecticut.

Really, as a Democrat and former Lieberman supporter, I think Joe owes us a public appearance or two. And I think he should answer every last question. So, I'm going to continue to call him out.

In terms of blogging ethics, I can't believe Genghis is telling a poster to "Shut up!" We all know that in the past, basically every thread has been treated as an Open Forum, that this blog isn't that busy, and that yesterday's threads are effectively dead.

Anonymous said...

P.S. If Genghis will commit to writing a thread about how our "public servant" isn't operating in public, and/or about how the majority of Joe's money is coming from out-of-state millionaires, (many of them Republican), I'll then refrain from pushing these issues.

Otherwise, Sheesh.

Ned's Butt Slave said...

YEA I AGREE LIBERMAN REALLY SUCKS. who care's about anything else

Genghis Conn said...

Anonymous,

Who's telling you to shut up? There are just better places for your post than this.

Anonymous said...

Anon Annoying Dude, start your own blog if you want to dictate the content. We get that you lamontiacs are all super-committed and willing to spend hours of company time blogging anti-lieberman crap. That doesn't give you the right to tell GC what to write on his blog.

Ned's Butt Slave said...

But Joe's a pedophile....we have to get that message to the people. I heard he's big on Myspace.

bluecoat said...

GC: This is just another example of how the legislature, along with help from Dolly Powers who now wants a constitutioanl ammendment and Genuario as both OMB Director and former Senator, haven't bothered to stick to the basic business of government but instead kept building Adrien's Landing, which Ammann is now pooh poohing eventhough he's supporting Steele Point in the same vein even if not as much state money, and the rest of the big building projects that drained the income tax and raised our debt. None of them reaaly know what fiscal management is because none of them have ever had to do it in real life - they've all had the taxpayer or its credit card to rely on to keep themselves in office.

Rell should be stopping all non-essential spending and go from there but it won't happen - nor will it happen from the Democrats.
The ENRON and WorldCOM financial models are not real good ones to follow.

Anonymous said...

Answer the second post if you want this to stay on subject GC.Name 3 municipal leaders,Dem or Repub,who have come out in favor of Rells Car Tax repeal.

I'm Waiting.

Anonymous said...

hey, man. This isn't about Lamont.

It's about basic accountability. I want some from all my public officials.

I've never heard of a blog in which the comment section isn't a free-for-all.

But if it's taboo to use this forum to call out Senator Lieberman, I'll refrain from doing so.

I'll also put CTLocalPolitics on my "Dead to Freedom" list.

P.S. I'm just mad b/c Joe's idea of a Town Hall forum is to invite DTC members to a private setting, where he has goons at the door determining which Democrats get to ask Lord Lieberman questions.

It's not like he hasn't been invited to umpteen DTC meetings.

Anonymous said...

Art Feltman, Andy Flieschman, and Mike Lawlor?
Or did they come out for (of) something else

bluecoat said...

Hey Lamont dudes page down to the post GC has headed U.S. Senate Race News or go protest outside Joe's office or something. You're not anywhere even on the subject of state teachers stuff.

Anonymous said...

I agree. The Lamont people don't get it. Friday was talk about Lieberman/Lamont day. Today's lesson is about the teachers' pension fund.

Ned's Butt Slave said...

Joe hates teachers

turfgrrl said...

It should be illegal for any corporation or government entity to divert funds away from pension commitments. That especially goes for the soc sec trust fund raids congress has been tapping for years.

Anonymous said...

They're still gauranteed their pensions. Its not a problem for teachers..just the rest of us.

Ned's Butt Slave said...

Please see this link to Joe addressing his plans for the education of young boys:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.internetweekly.org/images/joe_lieberman_kiss.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.internetweekly.org/photo_cartoons/cartoon_democratic_challengers_lieberman.html&h=263&w=292&sz=26&tbnid=EhBesVyTFHwHTM:&tbnh=99&tbnw=111&hl=en&start=2&prev=/images%3Fq%3Djoe%2Blieberman%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DG

Anonymous said...

Wow - nice try blaming the R's for underfunding the TRB. The D leadership cuts up the budget and robs the fund to pay for their own pork. And then the CEA kowtows to them by trotting out to the D press conference for a weaker bill tna the constitutional amendment the R's are pushing. Unions do not serve the best interest of their members...

Anonymous said...

teachers distrust Joe. That's for sure. They haven't forgotten that Joe was a proponent for vouchers,-- until he flip-flopped on a dime the day Gore picked him as a running mate.

Anonymous said...

Bluecoat,

Before ripping Genuario, maybe your should realize he was the one legislator pushing to fully fund the teachers' retirement fund as far back as 2002. He even filibustered on the last day of the Senate session to see that the language was included. Of course, Sullivan and the other spendin' Dems pulled the bill.
And the idiot teachers and their stupid union heads endorse Democrats year after year when the D's are the ones voting for budgets that underfund their pension year after year.

Anonymous said...

If I promise to vote for Lamont in the primary will the anti liebermans move to another thread? GC starts a conversation on an important topic and we're all supposed to be ok when the lamontiacs hijack the whole thing? I'm with you, joe sux, blah, blah, blah, now go away and let the grown ups talk.

Anonymous said...

anon 3:12 has a point. The d's have had plenty of time to sort this out. My guess is that the repubs in the legislature are trying to use this as a wedge issue, and not a bad one at that. Their low numbers in both chambers however will make it hard for them to hold the d's feet to the fire.

Paul Vance said...

As an elected official in Waterbury (pension deficit is north of 350 million dollars), I whole-heartedly support the teachers position. Our elected officials in Waterbury funded municipal employee pensions at 60 and 70%, letting the 'credit card' debt run. In our current budget almost 12 mills goes toward covering funds that should have been there-- sins of the past are expensive.

It made sense to pass a charter mandate in Waterbury to ensure that pensions are funded based on actuary recommendations, not political whims. The State of Connecticut should do the same thing. It is not fair to the teachers, but more, it is not fair to the taxpayers that need to clean up the mess when the bill comes due.

Anonymous said...

I've never had a beef w/ unions before, they do some good things and some bad things, but the teachers unions shot themselvs in the foot on this one. instead of working on a solution they tried to bully the house speaker and lost. smart move, pissing off a guy who'll be in the job for another 4 years probably. way to look after the interests of your members.

Anonymous said...

Speaker Amann is dead on teacher’s pensions. Even his caucus is abandoning him which is a bad sign for him since he stuck his neck out.

Moira was savvy enough to bring her caucus into line. Jimmy is losing his power. A few more bone head moves like this and Donovan will be speaker quicker than he thinks.

Anonymous said...

The teachers Union makes me laugh...the dems have had the power to fund the pensions for the last 8 years and never did, but every year they edorse Democrats for re-election, so quite frankly to CEA and all these other Unions are reeping what you sow...i would like to see home many Dems the CEA endorsed in 04... And i wonder if they will rally around Republicans who have been calling to fund the pensions since 2000....CEA is basically protesting against politicans that they put in power...god what a state

Anonymous said...

let's all hear it for the political director of CEA (aka anon 5:05) You're really doing a great job! If you think you can take out a sitting speaker then CEA's members have dumber leadership than I thought. God help em'.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

My favorite part is the call for a constitutional amendment, which verges on bathos, since the Democrats - in their annual scramble to bust the constitutional spending cap as hard and as far as they can - have demonstrated just exactly what that is worth.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Republicans were the free-spenders these days.

Anyway, the teachers' union is not the Democratic Party, and they have a legitimate beef.

turfgrrl said...

anonymous 6:05--

It's not the teachers union that is the problem here. It's that we, the universal we, keep electing people who willfully make bad financial decisions. Budgets are not that difficult to create and adhere to, but the people who vote on them have no idea what they are voting on because with rare exceptions they have no business or financial backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

Genghis-
Why not a daily open thread? If people want to discuss a variety of things, and you want to keep these postings on topic, I think that would be the way to go about it.

I don't entirely agree with the NedHead who began with the off-topic post, but I do agree that each thread and discussion dies at the end of the day.

Anonymous said...

I caught Cappiello at the teacher's rally this afternoon.

I was impressed. This guy is funny, articulate and very comfortable speaking.

Glad he is leading the charge for teachers!

Anonymous said...

I saw Murphy at one of the teachers' rallies, and he was good too. Crowd seemed to love him. A lot of them were from Waterbury and Southington where he already represents so I guess that is predictable that they love him already.

Mazurek talked too, but I didn't see Hartley. Where was she?

Anonymous said...

I heard Kevin Sullivan was there taking jabs at the Governor. Can someone explain to me why, as Senate President, he voted to raid the fund in each and every budget he negotiated? And in 2002, when the Senate (of which he called the shots as to what bills would be brought up) he called the teacher's retirement bill on the last possible day, with very little time left to fully debate the bill. Must be easy to be in the majority and say, well I tried, we just ran out of time.

Come on Lt. Gov. take your oversized pensions and for once and for all retire, but not here in Connecticut, go to some place like Florida, where your pensions will be safe from Democratic hands.

Are You Serious? said...

Quick comment to the people who criticize the teachers union for continuing to endorse dems - consider it the lesser of two evils. Teachers unions will not think about endorsing republicans as long as they are they are the party of private school vouchers, eliminating tenure, and aboloshing the department of education. Given the choice, who are teachers supposed to endorse?

Anonymous said...

Good point, anon 9:44.

But what do you expect from Senator, no, uh, LT Governor blowhard.

Talk about a lost soul.... pitiful.

Former Donkey said...

If the Democrats continue not to protect teachers, they will wish the Republican's pushed the tenure and school choice issue and they lost their jobs.

Better than working for 20 years or more and then finding out your state is out of money and bye bye pension. Union mobsters may do better with the Democrats but the hard working teachers will do better with the Republicans

Are You Serious? said...

Former Donkey - In the same comment you pointed out that teachers would lose their jobs under Republicans and would be better off voting for Republicans than Democrats. Using the same logic, maybe teachers should just all throw themselves in the sound?

bluecoat said...

one anonomous said:Before ripping Genuario, maybe your should realize he was the one legislator pushing to fully fund the teachers' retirement fund as far back as 2002. He even filibustered on the last day of the Senate session to see that the language was included. Of course, Sullivan and the other spendin' Dems pulled the bill. And that's just fine but my point is that Genuario has been a big supporter and benficiary of the CT department of corporate welfare, which has been bleeding the state dry not to mention running up the credit card of future taxpayers.

former donkey said...

are you serious: my point was, even if every teacher was fired, they would be better off than working the entire career and finding out at the end that their is no pension. Naturally, Republicans do not have any intentions of bringing any harm to the teachers although the Union thugs would have them believe otherwise.

bluecoat said...

Huh???, it's the GOP that's pushing the Constitutional Ammendment and the demonstrations on behalf of the CEA.

Joe Sixpack said...

Even if the GOP pushes full funding, through the budget or the amendment, the CEA will come out for the Dems. And be careful wishing for a popular vote on the issue - The union folks will come out in droves and the turnout alone will doom a few republicans.

Are You Serious? said...

One party pushes vouchers, aabolishing the department of education, and having biology teachers teach intellegent design. There is no chance that teachers will vote for that party in any significant numbers under any circumstances.

Anonymous said...

I think there is certainly SOMETHING to the idea that no group (be it a union or a church or an ethnic group) should cast their votes blindly for candidates of a given party when those same candidates vote against them repeatedly on a issue that matters.

Just because the Democratic Party is, on balance, more responsive to the desires CEA shouldn't mean a given Democratic candidate should get a pass for a poor voting record on this issue. I also think a thinking Republican (of which admittedly there are few...) should get credit, and a chance at the polls, for supporting teachers.

Case in point, I was at the rally in southeastern CT and the only candidate there was a young GOP challenger for the state senate. I was impressed that he took the time to introduce himself to each and every person at the rally and didn't force himself on us, but just told us who he was and that he was with us on the issue. I didn't see a single damn legislator from our party within 100 miles of the place and the very fact that he showed up and was supportive meant something to me.

Then again, maybe I'm jaded and just looking for a shot of good old fashioned effort from my elected officials.

As for the Lamont/Liberman thing, who knows, it might just make the summer a little more interesting. If nothing else, I'd like to see Joe work a little for the nomination this time.

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