PERI Urges Members to Contact Legislators On H.B. 413

OPERS Announces Process for Special Election to Replace Maurer
December 29, 2017
PERI Continues to Advocate for Retirees Through Opposition to HB 413
January 31, 2018

PERI Urges Members to Contact Legislators On H.B. 413

(January 8, 2018) Recently, we asked PERI members to contact their legislators and ask them to oppose H.B. 413. Many of our members have already done so, and we thank you! For those of you who have not, it is not too late to do so. In fact, it is very important that you contact your legislator and ask them to oppose H.B. 413.

In a recent email blast and/or letter that we sent to our members, we provided talking points for you to use when contacting your legislators. If you do not have the letter and would like the talking points, contact us at: (800) 247-7374

HOW TO FIND ADDRESSES AND PHONE NUMBERS FOR YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND STATE SENATOR

Visit the Ohio House of Representatives website at: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/index and enter your zip code at the bottom left of the page to identify and obtain an address for your state representative.

Visit the Ohio Senate’s website at: http://ohiosenate.gov/members/contacting-your-senator and enter your zip code to identify and obtain an address for your state senator.

If you cannot access a computer, call the Ohio Legislative Information Line at: 1-800-282-0253. They will provide you with the name, phone number and address of your state representative and senator.

YOUR MESSAGE TO LEGISLATORS:  Do not reduce our COLA!  OPERS is financially sound.  This is a solution in search of a problem.  There is no need to punish 200,000 retirees who depend on their pensions and COLA supplement.  Market returns in 2017 have substantially exceeded OPERS’ expectations and are more than adequate to keep OPERS’ pension fund strong.  Oppose HB 413!

 

32 Comments

  1. Donna says:

    Representatives contacted!

  2. Ginny says:

    I received the letter and immediately sent my emails. Please keep us informed how this process is going.

  3. Rick says:

    Also have your children, grandchildren and any other family members contact their legislators to let them know that for every retiree, there are several more voters who vote and side with Family first.

  4. Rick says:

    If one Party is seen as voting to cut our pension, then in any tight statewide elections I would put their chances at very slim with 200,000 upset retirees and their families voting against them

    • Gary says:

      Thanks PERI for all you do. I mailed my Representatives, Senators and voting board members.

    • Mark says:

      I got a rather flippant response from the Speaker of the House & replied back with that very thought for him to contemplate while in his luxury condo over looking the Sciota River. No reply to that one.

  5. Anthony says:

    Contacted my Reps. the day after I received my letter from PERI!

  6. Jerry M. says:

    I contacted members of the general assembly in august when opers announced the proposed c.o.l.a. cuts. I have a gut feeling this vote could be a strict partisan vote! I hope members of the general assembly would vote based on facts.

  7. Jerry M. says:

    The stock market has seen new records this week. Stock market info. should tell everyone opers has met their expectations and then some. For 2017 and so far in 2018. When retirees contact members of the general assembly, make this point!

  8. Ginny says:

    I received an email back from my senator today. He as much said that COLA reform is needed to keep OPERS financially viable. I’m afraid they have already been sold a bill of goods by OPERS. So PERI, how will you convince reps and senators who have already made up their minds? This senator will never get my vote again.

  9. Donna says:

    I read this on the Schwab website today: “economic growth likely will lift earnings, benefiting stocks. With a tight labor market, wage growth may accelerate, along with inflation.” And “The Federal Reserve is poised to raise rates at least two or three times in 2018.”

    So with a strong stock market and rising inflation, do you think this will be enough ammunition to stop the proposed cuts to COLA?

  10. Michael Roberts says:

    I tweet, I email and I even have called and I continue to do so. I tweet the Attorney General of Ohio, Devine asking for an audit both administratively and financial of OPERS. There are many even the governor. My State Senator never responds, so he’s on my list not to vote for, but I have had luck with my State Representative. Michael,

    Thank you for reaching out. I informed Representative Merrin of your position on the proposed COLA adjustment to consider. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

    I think another one who will start getting my tweets is Josh Mandel, treasurer of the State of Ohio, he is the one that started the Ohio Checkbook online where you easily can see the salaries and expenses of OPERS including there incentives (bonuses) to manly chief financial officer, yeah in the millions since 2009. Give bonuses and cut the workers COLA. OPERS and the Board fought him about putting their info on Ohio checkbook, but he embarrassed them and their are you tubes showing him doing it.. Remember, State Agencies don’t like the light of day shown on them.

  11. Len says:

    Do you have any idea when H.B. 413 is scheduled to be voted on in the House and Senate?

  12. jackie says:

    you can also go to ohio legislators website and search HB 413 and add comments. OPERS blocked me on facebook so I went there.

  13. Len says:

    We spend a lot of time writing letters to our legislators and that is important but perhaps we need to write letters to the OPERS board members to express our displeasure with the Executive Director and her high paid staff. After all they are the ones that hired her and they are the ones I assume that can ultimately have her removed.

    Just a thought.

  14. Jim says:

    I did not receive the email blast or the letter from PERI. The email was not in my junk folder, it was just not received. I called and had the email blast forwarded to me. I have been a life member since 2005, so this did alarm me but did not concern me, as I have sent many letters. I will start my phone calls this week.

    Please check with any PERI members you know to ensure they received the notices.

  15. Donna says:

    I just got an email from State Senator Jon Eckland. He supports the cuts to COLA. I told him I would remember that in the voting booth.

  16. Retiree says:

    Did anyone else get an email survey from OPERS today? They wanted to know if I attended the OPERS speaks session and if so how I felt they did in getting the information across and how I felt about the Proposed COLA change after hearing from them. Bottom line, they are not giving up on pushing this through. I believe they will wait for us to think its not going to happen and then try to show the legislatures that there is little opposition to it. I think there needs to be a real organized opposition effort made. Especially getting the word out to the thousands of retirees who don’t belong to PERI and may not be very informed. I just don’t know how to make that happen.

  17. JERRY M. says:

    P.E.R.I. said they will let retirees know on the website when opposing arguments to H.B. 413 is scheduled. The bill will not move until that occurs.

  18. Donna says:

    I did not receive an email survey.

    PERI, can you give us an update on where we are with the opposition?

  19. Roger says:

    I was first shocked to learn of more cuts to our pensions. They say the COLA is not funded. Then I can across the State Auditors website http://www.tos.ohio.gov/Transparency_Pension.aspx that lists all the OPERS employees and their salaries.

    OPERS has 637 employees listed with salaries ranging all the way up to $611,000 plus bonuses. The OPERS Executive Director makes more money then anyone in the US House and Senate including the Vice President of the United States and almost twice as much as the Governor of Ohio. These salaries get yearly increases including the highest paid person receiving a 33% in one year. All this coming from our pension fund.

    The question I have as a member of this pension fund is: are all these salary increases including the one with a 33% increase funded??

  20. Roger says:

    I had to retire by a certain date to prevent losing a 3% cola on my pension. So I did what was required. Knowing my check would be reduced due to retiring earlier than I planned, I invested all of my Ohio Deferred Compensation in the OPERS Additional Annuity program as a supplement to my reduced pension. My Additional Annuity payments includes a simple cola. Now they say the promised COLA on my Additional Annuity will be reduced the same as my pension under this new reduction proposal.

  21. Michael Roberts says:

    I continue to tweet, write, call and e-mail. I remind them the stock market now stands at over 40 percent of what it was one year ago. OPERS continues to invest in poor performing hedge funds paying out billions since 2011 to the manager of the hedge funds. Also OPERS pays millions in incentives, nice word for bonus to their own chief investment officer. 50 people working at OPERS make more than the governor. Miss Karen at OPERS speaks would not let us speak and had a negative answer for any solutions that we presented. I have one solution to the secretive arrogant organization, privatize it and let Miss Karen look for another job more suited toward her condescending ways. Many options, stop double dipping and make the money the people were paying into an annuity stay with OPERS toward stabilization, stop OEBA, put a cap on wages earned toward a pension, cap the COLA at the average yearly wage in Ohio at 3 percent. Another is those that choice joint or multiple payouts on pension, a lot of old fools while I have worked have married someone 40 years younger in their old age and died, then we have to pay that spouse the full amount of whatever they have chosen for the next 50 years, no use actuarial tables to reduce that amount to reflect the age difference.

  22. Michael Roberts says:

    As Jackie has said above, I urge everyone to go to http://www.legiscan.com and under legislative search put in Ohio and then for bill number, put H. B. 413 now scroll to the bottom, it says comments, be patience, it takes a while for them to come up. Tell them what you think. Keep it up, tweet, email, phone, write, don’t stop.

  23. Daniel says:

    This is what I sent to my Senator

    I am writing to you with concerning HB 413. I am a OPERS retiree. I retired in 2010 during the review of the last set of changes to OPERS retirement system. During that time I attended presentations and explanations that OPERS provided to the members of why changes were needed at that time

    In every explanation about the COLA at that time it was explained from the OPERS administration that if, you retire prior to the time legislation is approved you would receive a fixed 3% Cola annually. The result of that compelled working members who had enough time to retire to weigh out retiring and receiving “3% fixed” off the amount they receive when they retire, or waiting and receive a more reduced COLA based on CPI % but not compounded.

    1. OPERS LAST SET OF CHANGES COMPELLED ANYONE ABLE TO RETIRE TO DO SO TO GET THE FIXED 3%. RETIREES WHO RETIRED CANNOT HIRE THEMSELF BACK.

    2. OPERS COLA’S are fixed at the time of retirement (BASED ON THE ORIGINAL RETIREMENT BENEFIT) ITS NOT COMPOUNDED LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY. Comparing the % CPI to the current % COLA is a FACADE by OPERS to make it seem like retirees are out pacing CPI. The only time a retiree gets 3% is the first year of retirement it declines after that.

    3. OPERS IS FINANCIALLY STRONG AND THERE IS NO NEED FOR HB 413.

    Please oppose HB 413. OPERS is financially strong. The OPERS retirees need your help to prevent changes that will adversely affect over 200,000 retirees.

  24. Roger says:

    OPERS is again trying to reduce our pension and Additional Annuity payments, this time by reducing the COLA. We were told we had to retire by a certain date to prevent losing a 3% cola on our pension. So we did what was required of us.

    Knowing our checks would be reduced due to retiring earlier than we planned, many of us invested all of our Ohio Deferred Compensation in the OPERS Additional Annuity program as a supplement to our reduced pension. The Additional Annuity payments includes a simple cola. Now they say the promised COLA on our Additional Annuity will be reduced the same as our pension under this new reduction proposal.

    OPERS keeps talking about a annual 3% COLA. What they fail to tell you is that it is figured only on the first years pension amount and the first year Additional Annuity amount. The amount of increase is the same exact dollar amount each year. This means that each year the actual percent of increase in our current year pension goes down. 1st year it is 3%, year 10 it is 2.3%, year 20 it is 1.8%, etc. So as we get older and sicker we get less.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to have any increase to offset the yearly increases in food, medicine, medical care, insurance premiums, utilities, property taxes, and etc. But for those of us with poor health in our 70’s and 80’s we don’t have any options left to offset these cost increases except the cola.

    Many of us that worked all our lives in the county public sector did not earn large salaries and as a result draw smaller pensions. With the lose of spouse medical coverage we now have to pay the entire premiums and medical care cost for our older sick spouses out of our pensions.

    We older sick retirees have NO other options then the COLA. Please don’t drive us out of our homes onto the streets.

  25. Donna says:

    Please, please please post your comments on legiscan.com. OPERS has no control over them.

  26. Jim says:

    I hope that we file suit as the schools employees union did, as reported in the Columbus Dispatch, yesterday.

    http://www.dispatch.com/news/20180131/union-for-non-teaching-school-employees-suing-to-block-freeze-of-retirement-benefits

    It sounds like their retirement system has been siphoning off much of their retirement contributions for the benefit of those who are supposed to be safeguarding their funds.

    OPERS should undergo a complete forensic audit.

  27. Roger Sessor says:

    Here is a positive email response from one of the members of the House Aging and Long Term Care Committee where the bill currently is being reviewed. (We need more State Representatives like tis one!)

    This legislation, if enacted, will negatively impact approximately 208,000 Ohio retirees. Representative Kelly currently rejects this proposal on all accounts, as do the public unions in the state that we’ve been in communication with. By their own admission, OPERS’ pension fund is the most financially strong and solvent pension fund in the state, as you mentioned they’ve had great returns through the years and are considered to have a “strong” financial status.

    As of November 13th, 2017, OPERS defined benefit account had returns of nearly 14% YTD. OPERS’ assumed rate of return is 7.5% for the entire year, meaning OPERS is not only strong but getting stronger. The bill is currently in the House Aging and Long Term Care Committee upon which she does serve, and has had two hearings to date.

    Rest assure that Representative Kelly will be fighting Representative Scherer every step of the way on this bill and should it reach a vote in committee, she will be voting no, should the language of the bill remain the same. I encourage you to continue tracking this legislation and look for a date for the opponent testimony.

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