Many of you have asked for guidance on how best to communicate with your legislators about the Treasurer’s proposed changes to your retirement.
Here are some pointers:
First, you may be asked to make this call several times this year as the discussion goes on, so your first call or your first email should emphasize who you are, what you do for the State, and how long you have done it. If you don’t already have a relationship with your legislators, build one with them— that is the key to convincing them that your view is the right one.
Second, emphasize how the proposed changes may impact you personally.
Third, ask the legislators to consider taking the following actions before they make devastating cuts to the pensions of state employees in the midst of a pandemic:
- Take your time, there is no rush. Governor Scott has fully funded the State’s contribution in his recommended budget. That will allow us to study the impacts of the Treasurer’s proposal until next January.
- Support new revenues dedicated to the unfunded liability. Colorado has dedicated revenues from their leases to ski resorts to their pension liability. Senator Hooker has introduced S.59, a bill to create a temporary income tax surcharge on incomes of $500,000 or more until the unfunded liability is paid off.
Fourth, LISTEN to your legislators. Listen carefully to what they are saying; listening is more important than talking when you are trying to win a fight like this one. Try to avoid interrupting or arguing with your legislator.
Finally, remember that the legislators are the jury; we have to convince them to see things our way. They have not taken any actions yet that would justify us being angry with them. In fact, they have put more money into state employees’ pensions over the past few years than they were required to put in.
Please share the results of your conversation with your lobbying staff. This will help them strategize more effectively with real information about what legislators are saying. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find your legislator’s contact information online. If you need any additional help, contact Tom Abdelnour from your Legislative Department: email@example.com
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