As we come to the end of the 2011-16 contract that royally screwed State workers, our Governor has once again decided to balance his budget on the backs of his State workers. First, he has decided not to include any meaningful raises, without givebacks, for the next contract despite the State doing well financially. However, what's worse is what the Governor's budget do to State retirees who retire after October 1, 2016.
The Governor's budget wants to drastically reduce retiree health benefits for future retirees by including the following items that would save the State $12.4 million dollars in the next two years:
- Freeze reimbursement for the Medicare Part B premium at $105 per month and not the recently increased $122 monthly that Medicare Part B now costs. New State retirees would be responsible for the difference.
- Reduce payments for retirees with less than 30 years of service. At present the State pays 100% of all health coverage for pay grades 9 or lower and between 84% to 88% for pay grades 10 and higher for single workers and 69% to 73% for families. The Governor wants to reduce the entire workforce by the amount of years they worked under 30. The minimum vested employee (10 years) being 50% for individuals and 35% for families.
- Interestingly, the Governor would eliminate the prescription drug coverage fee for high income State retires making over $85,000 for single and $170,000 for families. I wonder if this is a favor to his people who work under him and make in excess of $100,000?
In other news there is a rumor floating around that the State will offer an early retirement incentive. However, according to Assemblyman Peter Abatte who is the go to politician on employee issues, there is no such bill and it was originally proposed three years ago and is not part of the Assembly's budget proposal this year. Moreover, for one to pass, it would need both the Governor's and the State Senate's approval and that's not likely.