Friday, January 18, 2008

UPDATE ON 20/50 BILL (A5778)

January 14, 2008 A new bill was been introduced last year by Assemblyman Peter J. Abbate, Jr., which would allow employees of the New York City Transit Authority, who are members of NYCERS, to retire with a full pension after 20 years of service at the age of 50.

This new bill (A5778) was in the Ways and Means Committee when session closed in June 2007 in Albany at the state capital. This means it did not have a chance of reaching the Governor’s desk until sometime in 2008. Governor Pataki vetoed a similar bill back in 2004,but this new bill is cost neutral to the state, as it calls for an additional (6 percent) contribution from members who wish to opt into the 20/50 plan. The bill that was vetoed in 2004 called for a 5.5 percent increase. It was vetoed by Pataki for not being cost neutral.

Currently members can retire at age 55 after 25 years of service. If and when the 20/50 bill becomes the law current members will have option of remaining in 25/55, or may elect to enter into the new 20/50 plan. But all new members hired will be required to enter into the 20/50 plan, except those who are over 41 years of age at the time of hire, who may elected the 25/55 plan. As you can see, 20/50 is not being given to transit workers but will cost us an additional 6% of our salary. To put this in perspective, multiply whatever you are paying for the 1.5% (see healthplancont on your check or stub) by 4 and that will give you an idea of what 20/50 will cost you personally.

I am pointing this out to my fellow transit workers so we can begin to understand more about our pension plan and that we must pay for 20/50; it is not being given to us. And also to provide an awareness that we will need to prepare our finances if 20/50 is ever passed into law so we can actually take advantage of 20/50. We need to have detailed information at meetings about the 20/50 plan so all members understand exactly what is in the bill, and how it will impact them.

This lack of information along with dearth of questions is why I am putting this out to the membership, and why I made the 20/50 bill discussion a part of the Homestation Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Seminar Series™. There needs to be more education on pensions and the pension process under the Taylor Law. If 20/50 is important to you, remember it’s the state legislators and the governor who control the fate of 20/50. This means we must get politically active to move the 20/50 bill.

Have you written a letter to your assembly or state senator? How about visiting them in their offices where you live? This type of ongoing political action is what is needed to move our bills and to complement our annual lobby day. Next week, we will be covering exactly how you can contact your state legislators and the governor, along with sample letters and petitions to send to the capital.

What You Can Do Now:
Tell Us What You Think: Visit the Message Boards and join in the conversation on The 20/50 Bill.

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