AEA members must remain vigilant in the fight to protect the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) from outside corporate interests who will not retreat in their greedy quest to control our retirement system. In the April 2016 issue of The Advisor, Dr. David Bronner warned, “They are not going away. The only way our members win is if Alabama legislators loudly hear your voice.”
Dr. Bronner’s statement came in response to the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Pensions final report, which endorsed the creation of a radical cash balance plan for future retirees. According to the RSA, the proposed plan will not save taxpayers money and may violate the Alabama Constitution. Most disturbing is the impact the cash balance plan could have on the financial stability of RSA’s existing Tier I and Tier II plans, i.e., the retirement benefits of current retirees and public education employees.
As AEA members have been previously warned, the cash balance plan is the result of millions spent by the Arnold Foundation to criticize public pension programs – such as RSA – throughout the United States in order to mislead the public into thinking our retirement savings would be better managed by Wall Street tycoons. As an Enron executive, John Arnold walked away with an $8 million bonus as the company collapsed and wiped out the rank and file employees hard-earned pension funds. According to Bronner, the Arnold Foundation has already spent over $50 million to disparage public pension programs from California to Kentucky.
AEA encourages education employees to work together to fight these attacks on our retirement system. As a result of your calls to legislators, the cash balance bill has yet to be filed with only 10 days remaining in the current legislative session.
With the millions that have already been invested to promote the cash balance plan, however, this battle will surely continue. All Alabama educators must speak up to protect our hard-earned retirement benefits.
Contact information for all members of the Alabama Legislature can be found here