Creditable service for private school teaching bill held in committee

MTA's bill (S1631) permits K-12 educators and higher education faculty to purchase up to three years of creditable service toward retirement for teaching service in non-public schools (kindergarten through graduate school). The bill, filed for MTA and AFT-Massachusetts by State Sen. Steven Panagiotakos (D-Lowell), received a favorable report from the legislature's Public Service Committee on October 25, 2007, and was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which is chaired by Panagiotakos, the bill's sponsor.

Because of the state’s challenging fiscal situation and legislative reluctance to raise sufficient additional revenues, S1631 is still being held in Senate Ways and Means for additional fiscal review, since the bill does increase the state’s pension liability estimated at $7.5 - $15 million each year until 2023.  MTA believes these official cost estimates to be manageable.  However, the committee needs to find revenue sources to cover these projected costs within the confines of a very tight budget.

Fortunately, Senator Panagiotakos is the major sponsor of our bill.  However, bill advocates need to contact their own state senator again, asking that he or she lobby Sen. Panagiotakos to have his committee report the bill favorably.

During the 2005-2006 legislative session, this bill passed the Senate but died in the House. We need to do our best to ensure this does not happen again.

In corresponding with your senator, you should mention, in addition to your own reasons for supporting S1631, that the same bill was reported favorably by Senate Ways and Means during the 2005-2006 legislative session. In brief, you are simply requesting that the same bill the committee deemed worthy two years ago be recommended again.

It is important to continue (as was mentioned in the alert posted 10/29/07) to ask your state senator to lobby Sen. Panagiotakos to have his committee report the bill once more.