20 for 2020 – Your Pension is #8 on Rex’s List!

Your Pension is #8 on Rex’s List Are We Strong Enough?

The Show-Me Institute, a think tank funded by Rex Sinquefield, has listed PSRS/PEERS as #8 on its “20 for 2020 An Agenda for Missouri” report. This report lays out their plan to influence legislation in Missouri through 2020. The item regarding PSRS/PEERS reads,

“8. Move Missouri’s Public School Retirement System (PSRS) to a defined-contribution system.”

You may ask, “I already have a defined benefit plan why should I care?” First, this is bad for public education, it will not keep our best teachers in the classroom. More importantly, for you, it means no more contributions from new hires into the current PSRS/PEERS system. No contributions means the system will eventually run out of money. Where does that leave you? The first item to be cut would be 100% of the COLA we all depend on. We MUST fight this type of attack on Missouri pensions. We currently have over 26,000 MRTA members. Are we strong enough to fight Rex’s billions of dollars?

MRTA is a grassroots lobby organization. This means we are effective because we show up en masse at the Capitol on Legislative Day; and, we contact our legislators when an issue arises. We need you to respond to MRTA Calls to Action. We need you to write, call, and/or visit your legislators this year. We need each and every MRTA member to stay involved! We need each and every MRTA member to renew their MRTA membership and to ask someone to join MRTA today!

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The Threats to Your Pension are Real!

Pew Trust and the Laura and John Arnold Trust are in Missouri and they have their sights set on your pension. They have hired three lobbyists who have been actively working in Jefferson City to change Missouri’s educator retirement fund from a Defined Benefit Plan (DB) to a Defined Contribution Plan (DC). We must be vigilant!

Meredith Williams, the Executive Director of the National Council on Teacher Retirement (NCTR), was recently quoted as saying, “If Pew and the Arnold Foundation come knocking on your state’s door, offering their so called “objective” assistance in reforming pensions, I hope these experiences in Alabama and Kentucky will be used to show your legislators what is really going on.”

Pew and the Arnold Foundation have been successful in Kentucky, the Kentucky Legislature adopted a cash balance approach in lieu of the DB plan in 2013. Tom Krebs of the Alabama Media Group (AL.com) reports that, “The Laura and John Arnold Foundation and their surrogates, including the Pew Charitable Trusts, have tried over the last two years to convert the Retirement Systems of Alabama’s defined benefit approach to a cash balance plan as part of a ‘nationwide crusade against public pension funds.’ The Alabama Legislature seemingly is bound and determined to hand over Alabama’s pension funds of $32 billion to the same Wall Street firms that brought us the financial crisis of 2008.” Krebs goes on to say that the legislature is acting in reliance on, “…volunteered and tainted ‘research reports’ from the Pew Charitable Trusts” among others. This is an attempt, in Krebs’ opinion, “…to gain access to bribes, kickbacks, influence peddling, campaign contributions and pork barrel politics.”

Click here for What to Expect When Pew and the Arnolds Come Calling

Comments from MRTA Executive Director Kreider:

Emboldened after the 2016 elections Michigan lawmakers pushed to move public educators from a DB plan to a DC plan in a lameduck session of the legislature, they were not successful due to policemen and firemen joining forces with educators to oppose the legislation. Are we strong enough to defend our pension system from these types of attacks? The world is run by those who show up! Show up with MRTA!

MRTA Day at the Capitol!

As you may be aware, MRTA had 15 buses reserved and over 1,000 members who planned to attend the 2017 MRTA Legislative Day to be held February 15th. DUE TO NEW SECURITY MEASURES/METAL DETECTORS instituted on January 9th, our event had to be CANCELED. There was just no way to get 1,000 retirees inside the Capitol without hours of waiting; and nowhere to park 15 buses to keep people out of the cold.

The MRTA legislative leaders from across the state met at the MRTA office Monday, January 23rd.  They decided DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND from MRTA members across the state, we are announcing a much downsized version of MRTA Legislative Day 2017 –  MRTA DAY AT THE CAPITOL!  We hope you can join us.  Details are below.  If you cannot join us, we are still planning on our MRTA Capitol Blitz day as well.  This will be an email and phone call blitz on February 15.  Information on the Capitol Blitz will be available soon.

When – Wednesday, February 15th at 10:30 a.m.  Please remember to allow enough time to park and to enter the Capitol. Getting through security will take anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the lines. It is just like airport security so dress accordingly and leave purses and other nonessential items in the trunk of your car. Identification is NOT required to enter.

RSVP – You must RSVP to the MRTA office by calling toll free 1-877-366-6782 so we can make sure we have enough material for every one who will be attending.  Please RSVP by February 10th.

Make an Appointment with your Legislators – If you plan to attend, we encourage you to contact your Representative and Senator today to make an appointment to meet with them on February 15. Click here to find your legislators and their contact information.

Parking – There is parking around the Capitol building.  Click here for a map of all public parking lots around the Capitol Complex.

Entering the Building – There are two entrances into the Capitol.  The first is the main entrance on the first floor in the carriage tunnel on the south side of the building.  The second entrance is on the west side of the building, take the stairs to up to the first floor entrance.

Registration – When you arrive, find the MRTA information tables in the first floor Rotunda area.  We will provide you with our “Issues of Interest” which is information on current legislation.  We will also provide you with information on the locations of legislators’ offices.  Please know who your legislators are before you arrive!  Click here to find your legislators.

What to Wear – Wear RED!  Also, to help keep security lines moving please leave purses and other non-essential items in the trunk of your car. Identification is NOT required to enter.

Meals – Meals are on your own.  Lunch will not be provided. Sorry!!!  Click here for a list of restaurants in the downtown area. 

Reimbursement – MRTA will pay mileage of 27.5 cents per mile for cars with 3 or more people.  We want to encourage carpooling.



The decision to cancel MRTA Legislative Day has been made due to increased security measures by the new Administration. These new security measures present complications and logistical problems for getting over 1,000 members through security and into the Capitol building in a timely manner. There are only three entrances with metal detectors with only room inside the Capitol for a small group of people. We cannot ask our members to stand outside in line waiting to go through security for any length of time, particularly if the weather is bad.

To add insult to injury, all materials and meals/equipment must also be screened. We were told NO EXCEPTIONS! Also, the Governor has signed an Executive Order prohibiting gifts such as a chicken lunch to Executive Branch employees. The House and Senate are expected to follow suit very soon. We are so disappointed with the lack of access to the Capitol that is now in place. This would have been our 7th MRTA Legislative Day.


February 15th will be our MRTA Capitol Blitz Day! We are asking every member of MRTA to write, e-mail, or call their State Representative and State Senator on Wednesday, February 15th. Every MRTA member is asked to respond to this “CALL TO ACTION” all on February 15th. We will show our STRENGTH IN NUMBERS through their emails and phone lines. Elected official contact information and information on issues of importance with suggested text will be sent out via e-mail around the first week of February. We are asking everyone to SPREAD THE WORD to fellow retirees. Please call the MRTA office at 1-877-366-6782 to add your e-mail address if we do not have it. Let’s give them some L.I.P. – Loud, Insistent, and Persistent!

MO Public Pension Exemption

Married couples with Missouri adjusted gross income less than $100,000 and single individuals with Missouri adjusted gross income less than $85,000, may deduct up to 100% of their public retirement benefits, to the extent the amounts are included in their federal adjusted gross income.  Click here for MO-A form.

  • The total public pension exemption was limited to $36,976 for each spouse for the 2016 tax year.
  • Married couples with Missouri adjusted gross income greater than $100,000 and single individuals with Missouri adjusted gross income greater than $85,000, may qualify for a partial exemption.
  • There is no age requirement for eligibility.

Visit www.dor.mo.gov for more information regarding eligibility. Or you may contact the Missouri Department of Revenue at (573) 751-3505, email income@dor.mo.gov or consult a tax professional for more information.

December 12th COLA Report



The last meeting of the year of the PSRS-PEERS Board of Trustees was held on December 12th in Jefferson City.  Representing MRTA in attendance were MRTA Legislative Chairperson Linda Greeson, Shirley Ross of Lafayette County,  Micheal Stearley of Fredericktown, Warren Solomon of Cole County, and Jim Kreider, Executive Director MRTA.

The first item of business was the return-on-investment as of November 30th.  It is 3.1%.  We were expecting a better return on investment as the stock market reaches near 20,000 points, a record high.

The PSRS-PEERS Board decided on several issues of importance to MRTA. One was the MRTA mailing privilege allowed once a year by PSRS-PEERS since 1984. The Board eliminated this privilege.  This was of great disappointment to MRTA.  This issue was brought up after MRTA voiced our disapproval of the new COLA policy enacted on June 14th.  The new policy eliminates the COLA (0%) if the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is below 2%, above 2% CPI the COLA is 2%. MRTA and our 26,000 members will work hard on future board elections and board appointments in the future.  MRTA must be listened to and respected for what we do in promoting and protecting our educator retirement systems here in Missouri.  This action shows a lack of appreciation for our work. We are PSRS-PEERS’s soldiers on the legislative battlefield.  They have hurt their own army.

The most positive decision was enacting a resolution stating the COLA policy would be reviewed every year versus every four years. MRTA put forth this idea.  MRTA also suggested that the resolution address the reinstatement of the COLA as the priority of the Board versus a contribution reduction for employees and school districts.  This was not brought forward.  This is concerning because the current funding status of the PSRS-PEERs system is now, after the COLA reduction, 84.8% and the suggested actuarial contribution rate now stands at 26%.  That is 13% from the employee and 13% from the school district.  The board voted in September to leave the contribution rate at 29%.  That is 14.5% from the employee and 14.5% from the schools district.  They could have reduced the contribution rate and left the COLA reduction in policy.  PSRS-PEERS Director Steve Yoakum stated at the Board meeting, although not stated in the resolution, that it will be PSRS-PEERS’s priority to reinstate the COLA.

Another positive presentation was the systems’ detailed report on the measures being taken to avoid any cyber security problems.  It is now estimated that each full identity record of an individual is worth $1200 to $1300 on the black market.  PSRS-PEERS stated that in September 2016 they had 3,574,881 attacks on their system data from Korea.  So far the system has protected your data.  Our hat is off to the cyber security team.

Some MRTA members had voiced they wanted the PSRS-PEERS Board members’ e-mail addresses posted on the PSRS-PEERS website.  The Board brought this up.  After quite a bit of discussion, the decision was made not to post the e-mail addresses of elected and appointed board members on the PSRS-PEERS website.  Again, disappointing.  All e-mail to the Board must go through the director or staff first. If you have a comment or want to contact a PSRS-PEERS Board member write Director Steve Yoakum, SYoakum@psrsmo.org.

The meeting was adjourned for a closed session of the board.

MRTA is Thankful for You!

The past year has been tumultuous at MRTA. The year started off with a hard fought legislative session, then came the announcement of a COLAhappy-thanksgiving-background-1024x716 reduction and the battles and victories we have had so far in restoring the COLA. We have a long road ahead in the next year but we have so much to be thankful for. We are thankful we now have over 26,000 members! We are thankful our MRTA leaders have been working so hard throughout the state and have expanded our reach with three new MRTA Units! Most importantly though we are thankful for you!

Thank you for your lifelong dedication to the children of Missouri.

Thank you for your membership in Missouri Retired Teachers Association and Public School Personnel.

Thank you to all who have worked tirelessly to protect the pension benefits of Missouri’s retired education professionals.

Thank you to all who have served your community and our great state through volunteerism.

Thank you to all who volunteered as MRTA leaders throughout the state.

We hope the best for all of you in the coming year and we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

MRTA Community Service Committee Votes to Focus on Hunger Relief

Mfeeding-missouri-logoRTA’s Community Service Committee’s purpose is to encourage MRTA members to continue their public service by providing and encouraging opportunities to serve their local communities as retired educators. TO SERVE, NOT TO BE SERVED is our motto.

Hunger is a reality for many in Missouri; for this reason, the MRTA Community Service Committee has once again voted to focus on hunger relief as the statewide project. The committee encourages our local units and all MRTA members to participate in food drives, raise awareness of food insecurity, and volunteer at local food banks.

Please visit www.feedingmissouri.org to find about food banks in your area. Help make a difference in the lives of our fellow Missourians!