US - The Connecticut Education Association (CEA) has called for an amendment to the Constitution that would force the state to fully fund the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).
CEA president Rosemary Coyle said Senate Joint Resolution 3 was essential to tackle the TRS’ more than US$5bn deficit, which had increased $2bn between 2002 and 2004 alone.
“We’re here today trying to protect good teachers from bad policy. That’s what underfunding in the teacher pension fund is - bad policy.”
According to CEA, the state had only matched between 66% and 85% of the required amount, despite a state law requiring them to appropriate the actuarially required amount.
A total of $562.1m had been earmarked for the fund under the current state budget for 2005-07, but that still left a $246.2m shortfall.
The deficit is only likely to worsen, as State treasurer Denise Nappier estimated that, by appropriating $85m less than the required amount in fiscal year 2004, the state lost the chance to earn an estimated additional $822m over a 29-year period. The reduced appropriation for FY 2005 will deny the state the opportunity to earn $1.7bn over a 29-year period.
Because the resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Connecticut, the CEA is reliant on the public to vote in favour. Passage of the resolution 3 in the 2006 legislative session would put the ballot question before voters in the November 2006 election.
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