2007 Archive

MRTA 2007 LEGISLATIVE REPORT – VERY GOOD YEAR FOR RETIRED EDUCATORS

THANK YOU MRTA MEMBERS and VOLUNTEERS!!

INCOME TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR EDUCATION RETIREES – SS#2 SCS HCS HB 444

HB 444 was introduced by House Speaker Rod Jetton to exempt Social Security Retirees from state income tax. MRTA went to work and convinced the Speaker and the House of Representatives to include Education Retirees.  The House agreed. The bill went to the Senate where they promptly removed us from the exemption. Your calls and letters convinced the Senate to put us back in the compromise version.  Beginning January 1, 2007, this bill authorizes an income tax deduction to be phased-in over six years for Social Security benefits, Social Security disability benefits, and benefits received from a non-private retirement system for individuals 62 years of age or older.  A single taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of $85,000 or less or a married taxpayer filing a combined return with an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or less will qualify for the maximum deduction.  If a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income exceeds the income amount, the deduction will be decreased by $1 for every dollar in excess of the maximum.  If a taxpayer receives both Social Security benefits and public retirement benefits, the maximum deduction for the publicly funded retirement benefits will be decreased by $1 for every dollar of Social Security benefits received by the taxpayer if the benefits are not included in his or her Missouri adjusted form gross income.  This Legislation is MRTA`s #1 success for 2007 and will contribute to education retirees living healthy vital lives and help ensure they are secure economically, socially and professionally in retirement.

“SPIKING” of FAS now better regulated. CCS HCS SB 406 

One of MRTA`s concerns and included in the 2007 MRTA Legislative Platform is to stop the abusive practice of “SPIKING”. CCS HCS SB 406 includes MRTA language sponsored by Representative Sara Lampe. The new law puts a limit on annual increases in final average salary (FAS) used for calculating PSRS retirement benefits to no more than ten percent, unless a member changes to a longer contract or reaches a higher level of educational attainment. This will save our retirement system many dollars and help maintain our systems integrity.

DEFEATED! HB 808 – EDUCATION VOUCHERS/TAX CREDITS

Again, the calls and letters along with personal lobbying by MRTA volunteers during MRTA Legislative Days held February 22/23 and the MRTA Legislative Reception held on March 11th were instrumental to the defeat. Visitwww.morta.org to find out how your Representative voted. HJR 1 was stalled which would have stopped public education’s access to the court system on constitutional issues such as public school funding and vouchers. GREAT JOB MRTA!

DISAPPOINTMENT – “BUMP” for COLA CAPPED RETIREES REMOVED

Representative Danielle Moore of Fulton introduced HB 661 for MRTA. HB 661 was legislation to temporally fix the COLA CAP limit of 80% for those older education retirees who are at minimum retirement benefit and are COLA capped. Due to the insistence and hard work of Rep Moore, HB661 language was amended on to SB 406. The language would have “BUMPED the benefit by $5 per year creditable service per month for PSRS capped retirees 75 years of age and older, $3 for PEERS retirees. Cost for five years $19.5 million. The House accepted the legislation. The Senate removed it in Conference committee because or EXTREME OPPOSITION from both active teacher associations and the PSRS/PEERS system. We CAN NOT THANK REP MOORE ENOUGH FOR HER WORK ON THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR MRTA.  Thank Rep Moore for all her hard work at 573-751-5226 or danielle.moore@house.mo.gov Special thanks to Representatives Sara Lampe, Ward Franz, Patricia Yaeger, Rita Haywood, Jim Viebrock, and Speaker Rod Jetton.  We appreciate Chairman Wallace although he did not support us he did allow free/ open debate and allowed the legislation to move forward from committee. 25 and out/2.55 after 31 years was renewed in SB 406 for five years. Cost $40 million to PSRS/PEERS system.

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