Towns to share in funding teacher retirement benefits in gov's l - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Towns to share in funding teacher retirement benefits in gov's latest budget proposal

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With the state expected to see a deficit of more than a billion dollars this fiscal year, Connecticut's governor continues to release pieces of his budget proposal ahead of its big reveal.

Gov. Dannel Malloy held a news conference on Friday morning to release the next component to his upcoming proposal.

It involved a plan to protect the health and viability of the Connecticut State Teacher's Retirement System.

Malloy said it's the fund responsible for maintaining retirement benefits for more than 36,000 retired and 50,000 current teachers, school administrators and their beneficiaries.

He said his plan calls for modifications to ensure that the state, along with cities and towns, are able to keep up with it without affecting the municipality's bottom line.

"At a time when state government is making difficult cuts to services, we can no longer afford to exclude how we pay for teacher pensions from the conversations," Malloy said. "This is not a change to the benefits – we must keep our promises to those who have dedicated their lives to educating our children.  Rather, we need to change how we pay these benefits in order to create a sustainable, healthy system that keeps our promises to the state's teachers.”

The proposal includes three components:

  • Having municipalities share in the responsibility for finding the retirement system buy covering a third of the employer share.
  • Preserve the state income tax exemption for teachers' pensions who continue to live in Connecticut.
  • A $10 million increase of the state's contribution to the Retired Teachers' Healthcare Fund for 2018 and another $3.7 million in 2019.

The state faces a $1.5 billion deficit for the current fiscal year.

Earlier this week, Malloy provided some insight into one aspect of his budget proposal.

He outlined what he called "mandate relief" for cities and towns.

He said it was a relief package designed to increase a municipality's control over budgets and contracts, keep project costs down, update old requirements and remove red tape.

The proposal would eliminate municipal spending caps, eliminate a requirement for superintendents in small school districts, increase that antique car assessment cap to $1,000, among other items.

Malloy also proposed creating a board to review the finances of cities and towns to stop them from going into bankruptcy.

He has said he'd leave no stone unturned when it came to bridge the budget gap.

He said he'll announce his full budget plan on Feb. 8.

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