RPEA Scores Another Legislative Victory

Governor Cuomo has signed RPEA’s bill to increase the amount a state or local government retiree can earn when returning to public employment without a reduction in pension benefits. The bill raises the earnings cap for public retirees from $30,000 to $35,000, the first such increase since 2007.

In our letter to the Governor urging him to sign the bill, RPEA President Diana Hinchcliff noted: “This a win-win situation for everyone. Retirees bring to a public employer years of professional experience while the employer gains the services of a fully-trained retiree, usually in a part-time position, at a greatly reduced cost. The employer does not have to pay fringe benefits or make contributions to a pension system on behalf of the retiree. The result is a net savings to taxpayers.”

The sponsors of the bill were Senator Neil Breslin and Assemblyman John McDonald, both of the Capital District area. We thank them for their support of RPEA, and commend the Governor for signing the bill into law.

We are fully aware that the majority of our members will not be going back to work on a part-time basis, but nonetheless, RPEA fought to expand the employment opportunity for those who desire to do so. We are committed to protect and expand retirement benefits for all retirees. This new law exemplifies that commitment, and builds upon our recent victories in the state budget.

Those victories are coupled with RPEA’s success in helping to defeat two bills which would be detrimental to retirees. One would diminish the authority of the State Comptroller as Sole Trustee of the Pension Fund, while the second would constrain existing public sector retiree health benefits under the state “Medicare For All” proposal. This is the value of membership in RPEA.