ND Teachers Object To Having To Pay More Into Their Retirement Accounts
Earlier this legislative session the teachers and public workers unions in the state helped kill reforms to the states pension plans that would have helped fix a $4 billion short fall those bills are facing by moving from a defined-benefits system to a defined-contributions system of the sort most in the private sector have.
Absent that reform, something has to be done about the solvency of the states pensions. The other option is to increase the amount contributed by the workers to those funds. But the unions don’t want to do that either.
A Senate committee amended a bill Monday that teachers’ advocates say takes away collective bargaining rights from teachers while taking more from educators’ paychecks.
House Bill 1134 increases retirement contribution rates for both teachers and their employers in an effort to shore up the Teacher’s Fund for Retirement.
Rates would be raised by 1 percent a year for four years, increasing contribution rates by 8 percent total.
The bill was written in collaboration with various education lobbies as well as administrators of TFFR, with both educators and school districts picking up the tab for saving the fund. …
About 40 percent of schools have agreed to pay for some or all of their teachers’ retirement contributions, and Grande sponsored an amendment that requires teachers themselves to pay for the additional 4 percent increase. Current negotiations will not be affected.
That amendment is causing problems for some in the education community.
“This is going to cost teachers an extra $220 in taxes a year but with no additional benefit,” said Josh Askvig with the North Dakota Education Association. …
Then, there’s what the amendment does for teacher negotiations with their districts.
“This takes away from local decision-making for teachers and school boards to say ‘This is what works for us,’” Askvig said. He said the change for those school districts that pay for all or part of teachers’ retirements instead of salary increases will now themselves be paying higher taxes while the teachers will see a reduction in take-home pay.
Funny that the liberal teacher unions are never all that concerned about local control when it comes to, say, curriculum. But I digress.
Mr. Askvig says that this is an extra tax for teachers that gets them no additional benefit. What he’s talking about is the additional federal taxes teachers will have to pay on their additional contribution. Even so, to say that teachers get no benefit from this additional contribution is just plain silly. The alternative is to have the taxpayers bailout this pension fund, and that truly would be a tax increase with no benefit.
After all, most of us aren’t teachers and won’t be getting a pension from the teachers’ fund.
If the teachers and their unions are going to support the sort of reforms that will make the states’ pension funds more solvent, then it’s only fitting that the teachers bear the increasing expense of making those pension funds solvent.Tags: North Dakota News, Pensions, unions