Newsletter - narfe1892.org

1
National Active and Retired Federal Employees
vvv
January 2015
Newsletter
http://www.narfe1892.org
Upcoming Meetings/Activities
Chapter Schedule: (Guests are always welcome.)
NOTE: Unless otherwise noted*, our meetings are held on the 4th
Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Holiday Park Senior
Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton, MD 20906, 240-777-4999;
parking in the rear. When Montgomery County schools close or open
late or dismiss early because of weather, our meeting is canceled.
-Member Meetings: Jan 28; Feb 25; Mar 25 (a joint Mtg
with Holiday Park – 1:15 PM in 1st Floor Social Hall)
-Newsletter input deadlines: Jan 23; Feb 20; Mar 27.
-Newsletter Prep/Board Meetings: Jan 7; Feb 4; Mar 4.
Outside Activities:
-NARFE 2015 Legislative Training Conference -March
14-17.
___________________
Our Chapter’s meaningful year of 2014 ended with a well
attended, very enjoyable Joint Aspen Hill and Rockville
Chapters’ Holiday Luncheon. Many thanks to Rockville’s
President, Jennifer Ramsey, her Chapter’s team, and all of
our Chapter’s helpers. Special thanks to John Lass and
Cathy Hobbs for their major roles. Sarah Weissmann,
NARFE’s Grass-roots Program Manager, substituted for
NARFE’s President who was testifying before Congress
on the Office of Personnel Management’s progress in
reducing the retirement claims backlog. She described the
anticipated budget handling and our future.
Welcome to 2015.
Congress did avoid another
government shutdown.
The $1.1 trillion spending
package was nicknamed the CRomnibus. It funds most
government operations through the end of fiscal year 2015.
The Department of Homeland Security has continued
funding that expires in February. Some reports in the
media wrongly mentioned provisions to reduce Federal
retiree pensions. That was mistaken reporting about a
provision that could reduce retiree benefits for individuals
in failing, multi-employer, private pension plans. It did
not apply to the Federal retirement system. None of the
budget bill’s provisions negatively impact Federal
employees or retirees.
The funding picture however is not a rosy one.
Sequestration, a ten year program for cuts in spending,
continues to affect Agencies. The Internal Revenue
Service had been hiring one person for every five who left.
Vol. 33, No. 5
January Program
January 28, 2015
Second Floor, Holiday Park Senior Center
Speaker
Bill Ferguson, Maryland NARFE Federation
Legislative Chair
“Influencing Your Legislators”
It has a hiring freeze on now. Even though the IRS budget
got no increase, its employees will get the 1% pay
increase. Not a pretty picture. NARFE will continue to
oppose some legislative proposals and to favor others.
What are NARFE’s legislative interests?
Look at
th
“NARFE’s Legislative Program for the 114 Congress
2014-2015” on pages 39-42 in the January NARFE
Magazine. The last item on page 42 is the wording for
what began as a resolution in our Chapter.
Our grass-roots advocacy is very important. We need to
help all politicians understand the Federal workforce,
retirees, and the non-federal spouses/survivor-spouses and
their interests. Speaking up is important. Always
remember that we are non-partisan. When in doubt, it
usually is best to “leave it out”. We speak to everyone.
Our Legislation Chair, Paul Schwartz, now recognized by
a number of politicians and respected by them for what he
says, is a good model of a grass-roots advocate. He will
attend the Legislative Training Conference March 14-17.
We still have an opening to cover an additional person’s
$175 registration fee. Attending this Conference and
being with Paul could help you be more comfortable
talking with politicians and their staff members. There is a
NARFE webinar on Thursday, January 8, at 1:30 pm.
Contact the NARFE legislation staff now, or email
[email protected] for more information. If you want to attend
the Conference, please call me at 301 460-4177 soon so
we can register you before February. Our January 28
program on influencing legislation will be interesting.
Be sure to read about savings and survivor benefits in the
January NARFE magazine. To learn early and plan well
while working is so important.
What do we know about when it is best to select the
higher premium Long Term Care coverage that begins
2
earlier than ninety (90) days? Also, how easily can
changes be made in coverage, and when is such
worthwhile?
Until recently, only retirees could have automatic dues
renewal. Their “dues withholding” also saves six
dollars a year. A monthly Federal annuity reduction
pays the dues and automatically renews membership. The
retiree can also have spousal dues withheld anytime
regardless of the retiree’s spouse’s work status or age. An
application for this is in each month’s NARFE magazine.
NOW, automatic dues renewal is available through
NARFE for everyone. Call NARFE headquarters, 703
838-7760, anytime to request that future renewal dues be
paid automatically.
Linda Lee Cohen, President
Legislation Report
Federal:
All too often the preferred method of
reducing the federal deficit by Congress involves
reducing the federal workforce and withholding cost
of living increases. Congress certainly has succeeded
in reducing the federal workforce. According to a
November 7, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal
by Josh Zumbrun, "the federal government now
employs the fewest people in almost 50 years. The
federal government employs 2,711,000 people
(excluding non-civilian military) and not since July
of 1966 has the federal government's workforce been
so small."
It noted that government contractors are not counted
as federal employees and, since they account for
almost five times the number of federal employees,
account for a much greater percentage of federal
government expenditures. The efforts begun in the
1980's to privatize the federal workforce seem to
have finally come to pass.
As you may recall from a previous article in the
November 2014 newsletter, federal employees, both
current and retired, have contributed approximately
$138 billion over the last five years in the amount of
pay and benefits lost due to frozen cola's and changes
in benefits as Congress deals with reducing the
federal deficit.
According to a November 20, 2014 report by the
Congressional Budget Office (CBO), "the federal
government could reduce the deficit by more than
$100 billion over the next 10 years by modifying
federal worker pay and retirement."
This, quite obviously, is alarming news for current
federal employees as well as, potentially, federal
retirees. According to the CBO, "cutting federal
workers' annual raises by half a percentage point
would save the government about $53.6 billion over
the next ten years, the report says". Further, per the
CBO, if the government "based its retirement benefits
calculation on the highest five consecutive salary
years rather than the highest three years, which is
currently used, the government would save about
$3.1 billion over the next ten years".
"Reducing the number of open positions being filled
would also save the government billions of dollars.
If agencies filled only one of every three vacancies,
with some exceptions, until the total federal
workforce is reduced by 10 percent, the government
would save nearly $50 billion," the report says.
Of particular interest to retirees is the CBO's claim
that using the chained consumer price index instead
of the standard consumer price index to calculate
inflation for federal retirement, military retirement
and social security would save about $116 billion.
Interesting enough, there is no mention in the report
of raising the current pay cap of $117,000 on Social
Security. Doing this would, of course, make Social
Security solvent for years to come.
As the new Congressional legislative session begins,
NARFE will be focused on voicing our concerns
regarding these very important issues.
State: On a more positive note, Governor - Elect
Larry Hogan has gone on record as being in favor of
removing the state income tax on pensions. The
State Legislative Committee is currently developing a
strategy for following up with the Governor-Elect's
office to pursue this agenda.
In an article by John Wagner in the Washington Post,
August 19, 2014, Larry Hogan is quoted as having
told residents of a large seniors community that he
"would like to eliminate taxation of all retirement
income once the state gets its fiscal house in order".
As reported in the article, Hogan stressed that his
proposed tax break “would not happen overnight,”
saying his priorities are to cut spending, create jobs
and roll back many existing tax increases. He went
on to say that, “once we get it under control, our plan
— we can’t do it immediately — will be to
completely eliminate state income taxes for pensions
and retirement income”.
Under current law, for individuals age 65 and older,
pension income of up to $27,800 was exempt from
taxation last year.
3
The State Legislative Committee intends to work with
both the Governor's office and Maryland legislators to
develop proposed legislation that will bring this vision to
reality and stem the current trend of emigration of
Maryland seniors to more pension-friendly states.
Paul Schwartz, 1st V-Pres/State & Fed Leg. Chair
Contact Your Legislator
-Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski
503 Hart Senate Ofc Bldg
www.mikulski,senate.gov/contact/
-Sen. Benjamin L Cardin
509 Hart Senate Ofc Bldg
www.cardin.senate.gov/contact/
-Rep. John P. Sarbanes
Dist 3
2444 Rayburn House Ofc Bldg
-Rep. Donna F. Edwards Dist 4
2445 Rayburn House Ofc Bldg
-Rep John Delaney
Dist 6
1632 Longworth House Ofc Bldg
-Rep. Chris Van Hollen
Dist 8
1707 Longworth House Ofc Bldg
202-224-4654
202-224-4524
Secretary…… ……………………………….Rosita Dee
[email protected]
Treasurer……………………..……….….Robert Arndt
301-774-4403…[email protected]
Membership…………………....….……....Merle Biggin
301- 946-4485…[email protected]
Programs/Service Officer …………..……..…John Lass
301- 871-6734…[email protected]
Public Relations/Historian ……………..Charlotte Lass
301- 871-6734…[email protected]
Newsletter Editor.…. ………………....Robert Kammer
301- 942-0882…[email protected]
Alzheimer’s /Sunshine…………….........…Cathy Hobbs
301- 924-4633……[email protected]
202-225-4016
Past Pres/Fed Resolution Chair……..Saj Durrani
202-225-8699
301-774-4607… …[email protected]
Past President ………………………..……Rudy Volin
301- 87-6635………[email protected]
202-225-2721
202-225-5341
Contact NARFE 703-838-7760 www.narfe.org
The 50-50 winner in September was Martha Fouchard
(she won $7.50) and the November winner was yours truly
($13.50)! Thank you for your continued support, and I
look forward to a great turnout for the December 10
luncheon
and
another
big
winner!
Membership Report
The membership report from NARFE Headquarters for
November revealed our Chapter gained four new
members: Myron B. Chance, Barbara L. Hunt, John D.
Munns and Ruth K. Webb – Welcome! We had one
member, Morton Schultz, transfer out and one member,
Ruth E. Grossman, transfer in. There were three
reinstatements: Lester Belsky, Claudette T. Guilford and
Paula J. Kuhlman – Welcome back! Eight members were
dropped: Daniel D. Brand, Shirley J. Burch, James D.
Knight, Yvonne Paran, Evelyn Rivera, Arlene B. Siller,
Robert F. Singfield and Sharon Whitt – If you know any
of them, please encourage them pay their dues and return
to the Chapter. Sadly Clementine H. Griffen has passed
away. The Chapter experienced a net loss of two members
in November. The good news is we also have four
prospective members.
.
Chapter 1892 Leadership
President ….….………………………........Linda Cohen
301- 460-5177…. [email protected]
1st V-Pres/State &Fed Leg/MD Sr Assoc. Rep
301- 260-1903… [email protected] ..Paul Schwartz
NARFE
Aspen Hill Chapter
12705 Weiss St.
Rockville MD 20853
January Edition
4
NARFE
Aspen Hill Chapter
12705 Weiss St
Rockville MD 20853
January Edition
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
Alzheimer’s Report
The 50/50 held at our December 10 Holiday Luncheon
was won by Marcia Swanson from the White Oak
Chapter, her winnings were $21. The collection of loose
coins netted $28 for Alzheimer’s Research! Please
continue to collect those quarters, dimes, nickels and
pennies! Thank-you to all who participate in our 50/50
raffles and those collecting loose change.
Martha Fouchard gave me a copy of a newsletter from the
“Friends Club News” - Winter 2014 issue, which serves
the Alzheimer’s community. In its report on a great
break-through
in
Alzheimer’s
research
called
“Alzheimer’s in a Dish” – a Petri dish with human brain
cells that develop the tell tail structures of Alzheimer’s
disease. This will allow researchers to quickly, cheaply,
and easily test drugs that might stop the progress of
Alzheimer’s disease.
Sunshine Request
Do you know of a member who is celebrating a special
occasion, recovering from an illness, ill, or has passed
away? If so, please inform the Chapter’s Sunshine Chair
at 301-924-4633 or [email protected]
Cathy Hobbs, Alzheimer’s/Sunshine Chair
Program
This month’s program will address what members can do
to influence legislation. Our speaker: Bill Ferguson,
Maryland NARFE Federation Legislative Chair. His topic
will be “Influencing Your Legislators”.
John Lass, Program Chair
NONPROFIT ORG.
U.S. Postage Paid
Silver Spring, MD
Permit #5715