Halftime Report

As the Legislative Spring Break ends, we must now be attentive to major education/retirement issues being addressed in the General Assembly.  MUCH can happen before Session ends on May 18th. Please check your e-mail often and please act on any CALL TO ACTION from your MRTA.

We have had several successes as of today because of your willingness to be heard and to act. There truly is STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!! To date, we have helped stalled SB 612 the voucher/charter bill in the Senate. We have also helped stall HB 2245 that expands Charter schools statewide. Both these measures take scare tax resources away from public education allowing for fewer dollars to be contributed to our retirement system and invested. We have also pushed for full funding of the Foundation Formula. Your hard work has aided the House of Representatives to add $46 million to the governor’s recommendation budgeting $98 million to the Formula thus fully funding the Foundation Formula. Below is the “HALFTIME” report on MRTA’s 2018 Issues of Importance. Please stay tuned. GOOD JOB!!

2018 MRTA Issues of Importance

PRIORITY #1 – MRTA strongly opposes HB 2660 (Miller R-124)This legislation requires the PSRS/PEERS Board of Trustees include an elected school board member.  In its 70 year history, the law has not allowed for any elected officials to serve as a trustee on the PSRS/PEERS Board.  This has kept politics out of the decision-making process.  This legislation also requires the employer contribution to the system to go back to the employer if an educator leaves before being vested; currently, those funds stay in the system.  This provision will greatly harm the system financially by increasing the systems’ liability by at least $508 million.  If this bill passes it would, in effect, eliminate the possibility of COLA and mean an increase of 2.07% in contribution rate for members and employers.  Please stay tuned and feel free to write your Representative in opposition of HB 2660.

  • Halftime Report – This bill has not been referred to a House Committee as of this date. 

 PRIORITY #2 – MRTA supports full funding of the Foundation Formula and opposes the use of public tax dollars for private schools. The Missouri Constitution mandates adequate funding of K-12 education through HB 2 which requires education funding as the second priority of state expenditures.   Comment: Due to several tax cuts enacted by the legislature over the past few years general revenue is expected to be reduced significantly. MRTA asks funding for Public Education be the priority.

  • Halftime Report – The House Budget Committee added $46 million to Governor’s recommendation budgeting $98 million thus fully funding the Formula.

PRIORITY #3 – MRTA opposes SB 747 (Emery R-31).  This act provides that statewide elected officials and members of the General Assembly serving for the first time on or after January 1, 2019, shall participate in a 401(k) defined contribution plan instead of the current defined benefit plan (DB). Comment: This does not include educators at this time.  It is only one amendment away if this bill is not stopped. DB plans are a proven better use of tax dollars and provide for better retirement security.

  • Halftime Report – This bill is still in committee.

PRIORITY #4 – MRTA opposes HCS HB 2247 (Roeber R-34).   This legislation allows for the expansion of charter schools statewide.   Comment: Charter schools take scarce tax revenue from public education. Currently, charter schools are only allowed in Kansas City and St. Louis City.

  • Halftime Report – Voted out of Committee – on House Calendar for debate.  Now stalled – lack of votes.

PRIORITY #5 – MRTA opposes HB 2200 (Rhoads R-154).  This bill creates “schools of innovation” which is another term for charter schools.  MRTA is very concerned the legislation, as written, changes the Work-After-Retirement (W.A.R.) provisions, which will allow PSRS retirees to work full time for these new schools.  According to PSRS/PEERS actuaries, this will increase the fund liability of the PSRS/PEERS systems by up to $187 million.  This could jeopardize your pension benefit and COLA.

  • Halftime Report – Voted out of Committee Do Pass.  Not on House Calendar.

PRIORITY #6 – MRTA opposes HB 2188 (Matthiesen R-70), SB 612 (Koenig R-13), and SB 565 (Emery R-31).  These acts establish the Missouri Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Program.  Comment: These are voucher schemes which create a new 100% tax credit allowing up to $25 million per year of state revenue to be used for private school tuition and other expenses for students.  This will result in up to $25 million less state revenue for public education per year.  These bills take scarce tax revenue away from public education.

  • Halftime Report – All bills on priority #5 and #6 are on SB 612 and being debated in the Senate.  Now stalled – lack of votes.

PRIORITY #7 – MRTA opposes HJR 55 (Shumake R-5). This is a proposed Constitutional Amendment that eliminates the prohibition of public funds for the use of any religious or sectarian educational purpose.  Comment: This allows for public tax dollars to be used for private schools which will take unlimited tax revenue from public education. 

  • Halftime Report – No Committee Hearing scheduled.

PRIORITY #8 – MRTA supports HB 2335 (Black R-7).  This legislation is regarding Work-After-Retirement (W.A.R.) requirements and would allow retired PSRS educators to work more than 550 hours as a PEERS employee.  Comment: This legislation is a win-win for school districts needing to fill positions such as bus drivers and also allows for retirees to obtain extra employment.  The school district is required to pay the employer contribution to the PEERS system.

  • Halftime Report – Voted out of Committee Do Pass – Awaiting placement on the House Calendar for debate.

PRIORITY #9 – MRTA supports HR 2619 (Brattin R-55).  This bill changes the Working After Retirement (W.A.R.)  provision from 550 hours to 700 hours.

  • Halftime Report – Awaiting assignment to a Committee.

PRIORITY #10 – MRTA supports HB 2184 (Bondon R-56) and SB 856 (Curls D-9) These bills modify provisions relating to the Public school retirement system of Kansas City, MO.   The legislation sets the contribution rates of the employing school districts.  These bills are needed to strengthen the financial health of the system, protecting employee benefits. This legislation will allow for a better opportunity for retirees to be awarded cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).

  • Halftime Report –  Voted out of Committee Do Pass – Awaiting placement on the House Calendar for debate.

 

3 thoughts on “Halftime Report

  1. In a Facebook Group, Lake Area Happenings, Mr. Rocky Miller was quite upset with some of us retirees. He said he is not going to go further now than to rec a school board member. Many are not believing that. Perhaps you could check out that site for what he said.

  2. I need to recorrect that. It was not that some are not believing what he wrote, but it was not mentioned by MRTA nor at the beginning of the conversation on the site. Perhaps he changed his mind.

  3. Thank you for keeping the members informed. Without MRTA leaders things would be entirely different. Yes there is strength in numbers. I disagree with any legislation that takes funds from general public education. Our constitution states that we are all created equal and therefore ALL students should receive the full value of each tax dollar available. Many students are not reached with the typical approach to teaching. Resources that motivate students to think out side the box or invest themselves in the process of learning are seriously lacking in public school systems because of the lack of funding. We cannot afford to turn our backs on the masses of young students in Missouri to be less than they could be to provide funds for a few.6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *