Weekly Mass Retirees News update
Before I jump into this week’s news, let me first remind you that our November Tele-Town Hall meeting takes place today (Friday) at 1:00 PM ET. The focus of today’s meeting will be the FY 21 State Budget, which is also the main subject of this email.
We will be joined on the call by State Representative Marjorie Decker, House Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. In addition to being a member of the House leadership team, Marjorie has long been a staunch supporter and friend of public retirees.
There are two ways in which you can participate in our virtual Town Hall meetings: 1) Receive a call from Mass Retirees at 1PM today to automatically connect to the meeting. 2) Call toll-free 833-491-0336 at the time of the meeting to connect. Please note, the automated call to you will also come from our toll-free number 833-491-0336.
We anticipate the meeting to last roughly an hour, but members are free to come and go as you need to. Once again, members will be able to ask questions relating to your retirement and the subject matter discussed on the call. To ask a question, simply press 0 during the meeting to be connected to our staff.
As I mentioned above, after a five month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fiscal Year 21 State Budget is now on the move. Governor Baker filed his revised budget two weeks ago and the House Ways and Means Committee filed its version of the FY21 budget yesterday afternoon.
Both the Governor and the House of Representatives have filed budgets containing a 3% State/Teacher COLA that is retroactive to July 1st. If passed before pension payroll deadlines, State and Teacher Retirement Board officials hope to include the COLA within the November check.
In addition to the COLA, the budget also fully funds the Commonwealth’s pension appropriation and the state’s Group Insurance Commission. This means that despite a $4-$6 billion deficit for FY21, the state will meet its commitment to public retirees. Very good news indeed!
We are also working closely with Governor Baker and legislative leaders to extend the public retiree work waiver that allows retirees to return to active public service without restriction during the pandemic. The waiver, which was passed in April in response to the pandemic, expires on December 31st. Our goal is to extend the waiver for the duration of the public health emergency. This is an extremely important issue for those members who have chosen to return to work and we will provide updates as progress is made.
If you are free today at 1PM, please join our Town Hall event. It promises to be very informative.
Chief Executive Officer
Mass Retirees Association