MISSOURI RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND PUBLIC SCHOOL PERSONNEL
877-366-MRTA
3030 DuPont Circle
Jefferson City, MO 65109
 

May 16, 2014

Legislative Report


2014 End of Session Report

 

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness..."

 

 

Dear MRTA Members and Legislative Leaders:

 

At MRTA the retiree and their financial security are the #1 priority. I am pleased to report that because of your outstanding efforts, your many calls and e-mails to the elected officials, our retirement systems are still intact!

 

THE BEST

#1) HB 1682 (Koenig (R) - St Charles) was never voted on by the House Retirement Committee. MRTA testified against the bill that would have mandated a type of 401(k) retirement system for public employees.

MRTA - Your Pension Watchdog!

 

#2) The "in-state investment" language that was "sneaked" into the HCS SCS SB 672 in committee was removed by amendment during House Floor debate.  This language (it was never a bill) would have required 2% to 5% of all retirement trust funds to be invested through Missouri based venture capital companies.  Thank the Lord MRTA was watching!  This was a money grab of pension funds and would have cost PSRS/PEERS an estimated $73 to $182 million per year in investment revenue.  The consensus is that this issue will be pushed hard in the 2015 session for passage.  It really matters who your elected officials are!

 

#3) DECLINE TO SIGN.  The petition called "The Children's Education Initiative" which would allow vouchers through tax credits did not turn in signatures to the Secretary of State for verification.  This means they did not have enough signatures!  GOOD JOB MRTA!!

 

THE WORST

#1) MRTA's 2014 Legislative Platform (click here) speaks to full funding of the public school Foundation Formula.  The Legislature owes the Foundation Formula in excess of $600 million to fully fund K-12 public education.  They decided to give just $114 million for budget year 2015 with no plan to fully fund the formula in the future.  The Legislature also rejected the Governor's plan to fully fund the formula in two years.  At the same time they passed and put on the Governor's desk SS #3 SCS SB 509 cutting corporate taxes by at least $800 million per year. The Governor vetoed the bill.  MRTA issued a "Call To Action" joining all other education associations asking the General Assembly to vote NO on the motion to override the veto. To override the veto 109 votes were needed, they did override the veto 109 Ayes to 46 Noes in the House.  (Click here to see how your Representative voted.)  The substitute for SB 509 is now law. Expect a continued and growing shortfall in regard to funding the Foundation Formula as well as other school funding issues such as transportation.  The enactment of SB 509 will put further pressure on the retirement systems as there will be even more motive to reduce costs.  As you know employee pay and benefits are a large percentage of school budgets.  (Click here for Senate vote on SB 509)

 

#2) MRTA's 2014 Platform also speaks to opposing vouchers, tax credits, etc. CCS CCR HCS SCS SB 493 was passed and sent to the Governor.  This was the bill to deal with the "transfer" issues in Kansas City and Saint Louis with unaccredited districts.  The bill ended up with voucher provisions.  MRTA issued a "Call To Action" but we were not successful.  This will once again take scarce tax dollars away from public school funding and give them to private and parochial schools.  The Governor is expected to veto the bill and may ask for a special session of the Legislature. Please stay tuned on this issue through summer.  (Click here for Senate vote and click here for House vote.)

 

#3) Our Missouri Billionaire Rex Sinquefield was successful in turning in enough signatures to the Secretary of State for verification of the "Teacher Performance Evaluation Systems" initiative petition. DECLINE TO SIGN did not work in this case but there was huge amount of money spent in collecting the signatures. It is expected to be on the ballot this fall. This petition is about eliminating teacher tenure, Reduction In Force regulations elimination, performance based teacher pay, and other provisions of so called reform. We all should start talking to all those we know about this attempt to devalue our teachers and public schools, and eventually eliminate defined benefit pension plans such as ours in favor of 401(k) type plans.  (Click here for Letter to Editor.)  Educate your acquaintances, ask them to vote NO!

 

#4) HB 1550 was a bill pushed and authored by MRTA to help Saint Louis City educators to receive a COLA. These retirees have not had a cost of living adjustment in seven years! HB 1550 was never heard in committee because of the sudden death of its sponsor Representative Rory Ellinger (D) - University City. MRTA will be pushing for a solution next session. MRTA encourages the Saint Louis City School System  and the PSRS of Saint Louis to make this injustice for a lifetime of public service right by approving a COLA immediately.

 

IN CONCLUSION

We have been strong and successful the past several years in promoting and protecting our retirement systems and our pension benefits. The question is: ARE WE STRONG ENOUGH? We know the "in-state" investment push will be back next year with high powered lobbyist. We know the Pew/Arnold Trust is not leaving the state. They currently have three high powered lobbyists. Their sole mission is to privatize the public pension systems, including educator systems, by enacting into law 401(k) type pension plans.  We also have our resident billionaire Rex Sinquefield who is not afraid to spend millions of dollars for so called "education reform."  He will not hesitate to fund like minded candidates during this fall's elections.


 

IT REALLY DOES MATTER WHO YOUR 

ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE!  STAND FIRM!

 

Please stay tuned, please keep informed, please ask someone to join MRTA and make us stronger.  Please stay healthy and enjoy your hard earned and deserved retirement!

I hope you're finding the value in your $35 membership in MRTA.  Want to know  "Who We Are?"

Want to help us gain strength? Ask someone to join MRTA!  Enter our $500 cash drawing by participating in Each One Get One!


Find your elected officals!
THANK YOU for being counted as a member of MRTA!

MRTA is the largest retiree association in Missouri at 22,000 and growing.  

At MRTA the education retiree is our #1 priority.


Jim Kreider
MRTA Executive Director
mrtadirectorkreider@mrta.org
877-366-6782


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