Legislature sweeps LEOFF Plan 2 funds!
This action will undermine the authority of the LEOFF Plan 2 board and undercut the foundation of the voter approved Initiative 790 that Firefighters worked so painstakingly to pass. This attack is not unlike many we have observed all around this country.
The State Senate budget plan was released tonight, and (like the House budget) their proposed reduction in LEOFF Plan 2 contributions will create a $75 million shortfall in funding. Both the House and Senate have also chosen to eliminate their first payment to the Local Public Safety Enhancement Account for future benefit enhancements. The WSCFF legislative team has clearly and consistently delivered a strong message not to reduce LEOFF Plan 2 contributions with leadership and budget writers in both chambers – they did not heed our advice. Now is the time for each legislator to hear from every WSCFF member and our families that this is not an acceptable way to balance the state’s budget.
· This budget intentionally underfunds the LEOFF 2 pension system and is a raid on our pension plan.
· The underfunding in this 2 year budget will create higher than ever rates for employers, members and the state in only 4 years.
· This change violates the voter approved authority of the LEOFF 2 board. Our board of plan members, employers and legislators has the responsibility to establish reasonable and appropriate rates for our plan.
What can YOU do?
Every member must call and email their legislator! Follow this: Find your legislator link to find the email and phone number for your legislators. If you are a member of your local’s leadership, ensure that your Local delivers the following message to the legislators that represent your local:
· The first priority of the WSCFF since the beginning of this legislative session has been the full funding of LEOFF 2 pension system. (The plan still has $1.256 billion in unrealized losses from the great recession)
· Underfunding LEOFF Plan 2 is irresponsible and will cause rates to increase to unprecedented levels in just four years.
· The 15 million dollar cut in state funding this budget cycle translates to a 75 million dollar impact on the system this biennium.
· We insist that you work with the WSCFF legislative team to resolve this Firefighter and Public Safety Priority.
Finally, check your calendar...if you are not on duty this Thursday, April 14, 2011, we want at least 100 union firefighters to be at the WSCFF office by noon on Thursday. Our goal is to brief each member at the WSCFF office so that they are able to make personal contact with their legislator. Then, we need you to attend a 3:30 hearing on the pension raiding bills in the House Ways & Means Committee. Make yourself easily identifiable as a firefighter - we want to deliver the message that underfunding LEOFF Plan 2 is a foolish idea!
The Senate Ways and Means Committee will soon schedule a similar meeting and we will need to approach that hearing with the same force and strength.
Stay tuned for more updates and be prepared to act to protect your pension. This is the first of several potential requests for you to make personal and professional contact with your legislators.
Please RSVP with your name and local number and direct any questions to Bud Sizemore (firstname.lastname@example.org). Provide your contact info if you need a response.