Sigh of Relief — or Part of the Strategic Plan?
Shortly after Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio announced they were going to pull their pension reform initiative and wait until the next election, members began to inquire if the $2 dues increase proposed by the members at the Conference of Members in November 2014 was still necessary. I will let you decide once I have completed this article. Yes, it’s a sigh of relief that we don’t have to face that battle this election year. With that being said, Reed and DeMaio’s actions may be part of their strategic plan to eventually decimate our pension system and move us all into a 401(k) system.
2015 was a dismal year for PERS, and 2016 is not looking promising at this point, as it pertains to return on investment. The dismal return on investment is fuel for these two individuals to push their plan, since taxpayers are responsible for making up the difference should PERS not be able to pay its retirement obligations. Next, there is a pending Supreme Court decision that will affect “agency shop” fees for unions. Should the Supreme Court rule against organized labor, which is a good possibility based on expert opinions of those closely following the development of this case, it will severely affect the ability of these various organizations to collect members’ monies. Obviously, members’ monies are used to mount effective offensives against any pension or other detrimental initiatives proposed by the likes of Reed and DeMaio or anyone else.
Finally, nonpresidential election years mean low voter turnout. To compound the low voter turnout, usually the voters who do go out to the polls are predominantly conservative. Conservative voters are usually not very supportive of our pension systems, especially when they are informed that they will be responsible for paying for any shortfalls in that system. Based on the previously mentioned factors, I would say that Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio have chosen to take the strategic approach and come after us when the deck is stacked in their favor. Therefore, you have to consider that continuing to pay an additional $2 right now is a good idea in light of the difficulties we may encounter in defeating any pension initiative in 2018. Bear in mind, these funds are sequestered for any detrimental pension initiatives. As such, PORAC can’t just decide to use these funds for other political purposes.
Now that we have discussed the importance of the additional monies for helping to combat pension reform, let’s talk about remembering our fallen brothers and sisters. We must not forget our brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice. All of us can honor their legacy by checking the box on our state tax form to donate to the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Fund. It is imperative that we make every effort to contribute to this worthy fund, which helps the families of our fallen colleagues. Whatever amount you contribute is better than no contribution. Therefore, please do not forget to check the California Peace Officers’ Memorial Fund donation box, whether you prepare your own taxes or you have someone prepare them for you. If you are one of the early birds who has already completed your tax return, you can go online and donate at www.camemorial.org by clicking on the “You Can Help Us” tab.
In conclusion, please don’t forget to attend your chapter meetings. PORAC represents over 66,000 members. The chapter structure was set up to be a source of information to our members. Chapter meetings provide the opportunity to visit with and gather information from the various trustees of the Legal Defense Fund, Long Term Disability Program and Retiree Medical Trust. For more information on the dates and times of your chapter meetings or information on issues affecting your profession, visit www.porac.org.
Be safe and have fun.