Did you know that the State Employees Retirement Association (SERA) needs your help to protect our pensions and health benefits!
- During the three plus years since 12,000 state employees took advantage of the 1997 & 2002 early retirement program, the State Employees’ Retirement Fund has grown from $8.295 billion to $11.3 billion, an increase of 3 billion dollars. Between January, 2002 and August, 2002, the Retirement Fund has lost over 2 Billion dolllars.
- While the Retirement Fund was only 93.4% funded in 1996, it has been in an over funded status in the past has allowed the State to reduce its contributions to the Fund despite the large increase in the number or retirees.
- The reduced State contributions have enabled the Governor and Legislature to create hundreds of millions in budget surpluses.
- Although inflation has exceeded the annual increase in pensions for the last 12 years, the Legislature has not made any adjustments to pension benefits since 1987.
- Since John Engler was elected Governor, he has signed more than 26 tax cuts and has increased the rainy day fund to 1.2 billion, but he has not made one proposal to increase the pension benefit of retired state employees.
- The $300 cap on annual increase in pensions will, sooner or later, cause an erosion of your pension benefits. For a state employee who retired in 1987 with an annual pension of $16,000, by the year 1998 the purchasing power of his or her pension had declined by 19% (more than $3,500).
- Increased health care costs are already eroding your pension. Health insurance deductibles were doubled this year and the amounts of your health insurance premium and prescription co-pays were increased.
- The former Governor is drew his salary of more than $135,000, while receiving a legislative pension of $76,000, which increases 4% per year without any cap.
- Within the last year the State of Wisconsin has increased the pension benefits of its retirees because of the prospering economy. In last year’s contract agreement between the UAW and the automobile companies, UAW retirees received enhanced pension benefits and health care benefits.
SERA is currently promoting legislation which will (1) adjust pension benefits, especially for older retirees, to help catch up with the rise in the cost of living for the last 12 years and (2) increase the capon the annual pension increase from $300 to $600. SERA is also trying to present the views of its members to the Office of State Employer and Office of Retirement Systems. Please join SERA today.
SERA works trough its members, leaders and committees to promote the best interests of retirees. At least eight times since 1974 SERA has been a moving force in pension increases or benefit improvements.
That work still goes on: Annual cost of living adjustments (COLA) are capped by formula, and SERA is working to improve the cap.
State and federal) proposed legislation can greatly affect State of Michigan retirees — for better or worse. SERA watches closely and informs its members with regularly scheduled meetings, timely newsletters, and updates on the website.
SERA’s 21 local chapters are linked through the Coordinating Council of the State Employees Retirees Associations in Michigan (the SERA Council). Chapters are locally controlled, but get help and guidance from the SERA Council.
More than ever, SERA needs your support to help persuade the Legislature and Governor to enact these proposals and to protect health benefits. There are Chapters located all over Michigan. If you are not sure which Chapter to join, please refer to the directory listing.
If you are interested in joining SERA, please email your name, address, city, state, zipe code, chapter interested in, and email address to: firstname.lastname@example.org