July 16, 2021
VSEA Legislative Specialist Tom Abdelnour emailed activists this week with an overview of the newly formed Pension Benefits, Design and Funding Task Force’s July 7 meeting.
Here is Abdelnour’s summary:
Last Wednesday, the Pension Benefits, Design, and Funding Task Force— set up this year by the Legislature to look at issues surrounding your pension— held its second meeting in Montpelier. The discussion included presentations:
From Chris Rupe, of the Joint Fiscal Office, on:
- The impact of the use of one-time funds on the unfunded pension liability
- The relationship between Other Post Employment Benefits (or “OPEB”)— like your health benefits— on the way rating agencies view Vermont’s obligations to its retirees
- From Tom Golonka, the Chair of the Vermont Pension Investment Commission, on the investment strategies it employs.
- On the work of a 2009 Pension Task Force that investigated some of the issues included in the new Task Force’s mandate
The meeting demonstrated the importance of having your union, the VSEA, having secured an equal balance of Labor and non-Labor members on the Task Force. The Labor representatives— including VSEA’s own Leona Watt and Eric Davis— continually refocused the discussion on the importance of grounding any pension reform proposals in new revenues from Vermont’s wealthiest citizens, rather than benefit cuts for public retirees. They also shared real-world perspectives on the ways in which proposed cuts would impact them and their colleagues.
The Task force will meet again next week.
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