Provide Income Security
- Support federal legislation which would change the measure of inflation currently used to calculate the Social Security COLA from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to an index called the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), which more accurately reflects costs borne by seniors, such as medical care.
- Reform the state COLA law to more accurately account for increases in inflation.
- Support measures designed to ensure the long-term financial security of the Social Security program such as removal of the threshold after which Social Security taxes are no longer withheld from an individual’s earnings. The current earnings limitation is $127,200.
- Increase the maximum allowable public service earnings for public service retirees under 65 who return to government service.
- Enact a supplemental benefits bill for retired public employee veterans who were unable to buy back three years of service credit.
Preserve Access to Affordable Health Care Insurance
- Oppose any reductions in Medicare.
- Oppose all proposals which will reduce health insurance currently available to retirees.
- Assure that NYSHIP Medicare charges are reimbursed when public retiree is paying full premium contribution and Medicare is used for primary coverage.
- Guarantee NYSHIP contribution percentages for State retirees as of the date of retirement.
- Guarantee local government retirees health care benefits available upon retirement.
- Require 90-day notice before a locality may change provisions of a health care plan.
Protect the Integrity of the Public Service Pension System
- Support reform efforts to eliminate pension system abuse.
- Oppose elimination of defined benefit pension plans.
- Keep the State Comptroller as the Sole Fiduciary of the Common Retirement Fund.
- Oppose efforts to eliminate constitutional pension contractual guarantee.
Preserve Constitutional Protections
On the ballot this November voters will be asked if they want to convene a convention for the purpose of amending the state constitution. This ballot question is required every 20 years, pursuant to a provision in the constitution.
In addition to the provisions which prevent the diminution of public pensions and the fact that such pensions are exempt from state income taxes, there are other existing provisions in the constitution which enhance the quality of life for New Yorkers. These provisions include: workers’ compensation, the right to belong to a union and bargain collectively, provide social welfare to those in need, free public education, environmental provisions including “forever wild”, among others.
Furthermore, there is no commission in place to identify existing constitutional provisions which might need amending. Hence, everything is on the table.
For these reasons, RPEA opposes the convening of a constitutional convention.
RPEA seeks to preserve and maintain
adequate and affordable health insurance
coverage for every public retiree.
Arbitrary distinctions should be avoided
when pension benefits are improved.
Survivors’ benefits to pensioners’
families should be kept current.
Improve Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs)
to enable retirees to combat inflation and
maintain their standard of living.
We advocate for process reform to ensure
openness and accountability in order to
prevent abuse of public pension systems.