From CEA: Teacher Tax Update

A MESSAGE FROM CEA PRESIDENT SHEILA COHEN:
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THE TEACHER TAX

Thank you for your advocacy and activism in fighting back against the teacher tax and the cost shift proposals. The Republican budget that passed the legislature contained a teacher tax, but no cost shift. However, the governor has said he will veto that plan, and that would mean legislators once again will be considering both issues to try to solve the budget deficit. We must stand strong and ready to fight back against both the cost shift and the teacher tax because they hurt students, teachers, and public education.

Because of your continued outreach and strong objections to the teacher tax, there is a lot of misinformation being shared by some legislators.

I want to be perfectly clear: THIS IS A TAX ON TEACHERS.

Here are the facts:

  • The Republican budget increases the payroll tax on teachers from 6 percent to 8 percent.
  • This will cost every teacher about $1,500 per year.
  • Unlike other pension contributions, the budget counts this additional 2% as tax revenue.
  • This increase will generate almost $100 million to reduce the state’s deficit instead of reducing the unfunded liability for teacher retirement.
  • None of this tax increase will go toward the state’s unfunded teacher pension liability—it will instead reduce the state’s contribution to teacher retirement.

Unlike other pension contributions, this additional 2% increase counts as tax revenue—PERIOD!

GET THE FACTS ABOUT THE TEACHER TAX

Please feel free to share this information with your colleagues, friends, and family members and to post it on your social media networks.

Our voices are being heard and we will continue to speak out against all attempts to balance the budget on the backs of students and teachers. We will fight against any new proposals that include a teacher tax or a cost shift that moves the state’s share of teacher retirement costs onto cities and towns.

We must keep up our advocacy until we have a fair budget that works for all of us and invests in public education.

Thank you for your continued activism and support.

Here we go again… A message for NEA

It’s déjà vu all over again. After failing in previous attempts, Senate Republican leaders are rushing one final vote by next Wednesday on a terrible bill that will gut Medicaid and take healthcare away from millions of Americans, including children! The Graham-Cassidy bill is bad news and will hurt a lot of people – especially children most in need – if it becomes law. It will make health care more costly and could end hard won protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

We cannot allow Republican leaders to pass this dangerous bill. That’s why we need you to take action today!

Call your Senator now. Tell them to vote no on Graham-Cassidy, and to stand up for affordable healthcare for every American!

Marc Egan
NEA Government Relations

From CEA: Action Alert: Teacher Tax

Tell Governor Malloy to veto the Republican budget that passed the legislature.
It imposes an unprecedented tax on teachers of approximately $1,500 per teacher—every year—that will NOT go into the teacher retirement fund to support teacher retirement. This is an unfair tax that goes into the state’s general fund, and must not become law.
Click here to contact Governor Malloy.
Urge him to
1)    Veto the Republican budget
2)    Pass a fair budget, without a $1,500 tax on teachers and without a cost shift
3)    Invest in public education and the future of our children and our state
Tell the governor not to balance the state budget on the backs of students and teachers.

CEAGo News for September 18, 2017

Today, Governor Malloy reaffirmed his decision to veto the budget that passed this weekend, which contains a number of anti-teacher, anti-union proposals that would impact our students, our profession, and our schools. We support the veto of this budget for the reasons below and are calling on legislators to convene immediately to create a real bipartisan budget that invests in public education and creates a reliable revenue stream to fund education.

If signed into law, the budget passed this weekend would:

  • Impose a $1,500* tax on teachers, in the form of a 2% increase in teachers’ contributions to their retirement ( *average amount; actual number would be higher or lower according to salary ).
  • Eliminate the minimum budget requirement that governs what towns must spend on education.
  • Allow the retired teachers health insurance fund to go bankrupt by no longer requiring the state to pay one-third of the cost each year.
  • Cut education funding to some of our poorest districts, including Bridgeport, New Haven, and East Hartford.
  • Allow schools and towns to use volunteers for town and school services.
  • End collective bargaining for state employees’ pensions, imposing changes in their pensions after 2027 when the current labor agreement expires, and start counting those savings in the proposed biennial budget.

This budget and the one proposed by the Democrats, which included the cost shift for teacher retirement onto cities and towns, put our public schools and Connecticut’s future at risk.

We are calling on legislators to convene immediately to craft a true bipartisan budget that:

  • Supports students and teachers and invests in public education.
  • Creates a sustainable system to fund education, including closing tax loopholes and ending unnecessary tax subsidies.
  • Eliminates waste and inefficiencies in state programs and services.

In the coming days we will be providing you with more information regarding the budget situation and will ask you to once again contact your legislators and urge them to come together to do what’s right for Connecticut—pass a budget that works for all of us and invests in our public schools. Please watch for our emails and take action when the time comes.

State Budget Information From CEA

 

Throughout the state budget process, CEA members have been strong advocates. In just the last three days, more than 4,000 emails were sent by CEA members to their representatives and state senators. Here’s what happened at the Capitol yesterday:

Democrats were expected to pass their budget.
In the State Senate three Democrats—Paul Doyle, Gayle Slossberg, and Joan Hartley—all voted for the Republican budget. As a result, the Republican budget proposal passed by a vote of 21 to 15.
In the House, six Democrats voted with the Republicans to adopt the Republican budget as the amended budget—Pat Boyd, John Hampton, Lonnie Reed, Kim Rose, Danny Rovero, and Cristin McCarthy Vahey (McCarthy Vahey, later switched and voted against it). It passed 77 to 73. The governor has said that he will veto the budget.

A bi-partisan budget–different than the one passed yesterday–could be a good solution for Connecticut, but only if it does not attack public education, students, teachers, and essential collective bargaining rights that protect employees.

What does the Republican budget do as to collective bargaining and education?
It imposes a 2% increase in teacher contributions to the retirement fund, which would cost the average teacher $1,500 per year.
It does not impose a cost shift of teacher retirement responsibilities onto towns.
It ends collective bargaining for state employee pensions, imposes changes in their pensions after 2027 (when the current labor agreement expires), and starts counting those savings in the proposed biennial budget. For example, the budget banks $270 million in savings in the next two years based on savings that are projected to occur after 2027. And that assumes that ending collective bargaining as to state employee pensions withstands a legal challenge.
Allows towns to override arbitration decisions with a 2/3rds vote of the local legislative bodies (i.e., two out of three selectman, six out of nine city councilors).
Eliminates the Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) for municipal education support.
Allows towns to reopen collective bargaining agreements if education aid is reduced by 10% or more.
Requires that 15% of a town’s budget reserve shall not be considered toward a town’s ability to pay.
Allows schools and towns to use volunteers of adults or children for town services regardless of collective bargaining agreements.
Contains numerous provisions that transfer power from the board of education to the board of finance or mayor/board of selectmen. For example, the town (not the board of education) must authorize leases of school equipment, computers, portable classrooms, etc.; the town must approve hiring new school positions not specifically enumerated in the budget, etc.
ECS: The Republican budget restores most of Governor Malloy’s proposed ECS cuts, but cuts some large districts. Bridgeport loses $4 million, East Hartford loses $4 million, New Haven loses $3 million, and West Hartford loses $1 million.
The Republican budget also eliminates the Clean Elections Program, imposes additional labor savings while also incorporating the $1.5 billion state employee concession package negotiated by Governor Malloy, adopts the Hospital Tax expansion proposed by Malloy (where the state receives more federal reimbursement), and proposes major cuts in higher education.
These are just some of many details that stretch over 700 pages.
 
Again, the governor says he will veto the Republican budget, which will send the process back to the beginning, with increased leverage for Republican leadership.
We will send out additional updates as we learn more.

 

From CEA: Contact Your Legislators

Legislators are expected to vote on a budget this Thursday or Friday. School budgets across the state are at risk.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS

Take action immediately to tell legislators:

1. Do not cut ECS dollars that are critical to our schools and students.

2. Do not shift state responsibility for teacher retirement to the towns, which will result in increases in property taxes, cuts to school budgets, or both.

3. Do not increase teacher contributions to the retirement system.

4. Do not undermine collective bargaining rights.

Tell legislators to pass a budget that:

a) Protects local school budgets.

b) Maintains critical services for families and communities.

c) Provides for a reliable revenue stream to support critical services.

This is our last chance to have our voices heard before the budget vote.

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS

From NEA: A Time To Help

I recently asked you to open your hearts to our brothers and sisters in Texas who were in Hurricane Harvey’s path. Thank you for the generous contributions you’re making to The NEA Foundation’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Now, I’m asking you to help members in Florida who are suffering through Hurricane Irma, the second devastating hurricane to hit our nation in two weeks. Members of the Florida Education Association are jointly represented by NEA and AFT. We have combined our fund-raising efforts so that by contributing to the AFT Disaster Relief-Donation Center, you will be assisting members in Florida as well as those in the Caribbean.

PHOTO: Bonita Springs, Fla. AP Photo/Gerald Herber

If you or anyone you know has been affected by Hurricanes Harvey or Irma, please know that we are here for you.

We’ve compiled resources to help.

In light of our concern for students, public schools, and educators throughout the world, our union has also contributed to Education International, which is providing assistance through the Caribbean Union of Teachers to some of the worst-hit areas.

Irma turned its wrath on Florida over the weekend after leaving catastrophic devastation in the Caribbean. Throughout the Sunshine State, homes and other buildings were damaged due to high winds and flooding, and millions of people are expected to experience outages in power and water service. Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm but is still extremely dangerous and is continuing through the southeastern United States, where it will bring wind and heavy rain in Alabama and Georgia and may cause serious flooding.

Harvey victims in Texas continue to need our support on their long road to recovery. Students are returning to school in Texas but many buildings have been damaged and some are beyond repair. Our members need our help in rebuilding their own lives and helping their schools and students to recover.

As I’ve said before, we’re a family, and that means we’re there for each other in good times as well as bad times. Please continue to keep all affected members in your thoughts and prayers. Together, we will all help them get through this. Please visit: nea.org/hurricanerelief to help.

DONATE NOW

– Lily

Lily Eskelsen García
President
National Education Association

CEAGo News September 8, 2017

BUDGET VOTE SEPT. 14

Legislators may vote on a new state budget on September 14. Governor Malloy today unveiled a new budget plan that lessens school funding cuts but also imposes new cuts on cities and towns that will impact school budgets.

Read Sheila Cohen’s statement.

Read article.

GROUPS PLAN “MORTAL BLOW” TO UNIONS

Right-wing groups in all 50 states, including Connecticut, are planning to “defund and defang unions.” Read the shocking manifesto outlining how these groups, with millions at their disposal, plan to deal a “mortal blow” to unions.


shiny apple to the All Hands on Deck Coalition for encouraging legislators to fully fund education and examine tax proposals to balance the budget.


rotten apple to the Trump Administration for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, hurting nearly a million “Dreamers.”

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

Attend a county forum near you and learn what’s happening at the State Capitol and at the federal level and how it will impact you and your classroom. Click here for a list of County Forum dates in your area. Attend a meeting. Learn about your union and get involved.


QUALITY PD IS JUST A CALL OR CLICK AWAY

Are you tired of the same old, boring PD? Get the PD you need, developed and customized by educators, for educators. Contact CEA’s Professional Learning Academy for a complete list of high-quality professional learning opportunities.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS

Urge legislators to pass a budget before the Oct. 1 deadline to avoid the implementation of Governor Malloy’s draconian cuts, which would strip $557 million in education funding in 139 districts.

Contact your legislators. Urge them to pass a state budget as soon as possible that:

  1. Protects local school budgets and the education of all children
  2. Maintains critical services for families and communities
  3. Provides for a reliable revenue stream to cure the state’s chronic underfunding of public schools


TEACHERS LEND A HELPING HAND

Connecticut teachers are helping fellow educators in Texas and Louisiana affected by the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey. Click here to find out how you can help your colleagues both financially and emotionally, as they being the slow process of rebuilding their lives.

Free resources are available to help you explain the disaster and answer your students’ questions. Click here for information.

REFRESH YOUR BACK-TO-SCHOOL WARDROBE AT CLINTON CROSSING OR TANGER OUTLETS

CEA members get a free coupon booklet. Details at cea.org/mb.


PLANNING A FIELD TRIP TO MYSTIC SEAPORT THIS YEAR?

Check it out before you go. CEA members get a complimentary anytime pass! Details at cea.org/mb.

 

NPS Employees Have Free Admission to NHS Athletic Events

Brian Mariano wants to let everyone know that all NPS employees have free admission to NHS athletic events. Please present a staff ID when entering. Free admission is for staff only. Family members that attend with you will need to pay admission. This is for regular season games only. Full admission must be paid for NVL tournament games as well as the Thanksgiving football game. “Thank you and I hope to see you at an event.”