__________________________________________________________________

“The RPEA Legislative Committee interviewed Henry Jones and JJ Jelencic in their meeting on March 14 to determine which candidate to endorse for the retiree seat on the CalPERS Board.  The committee recommended JJ Jelencic for this position.  On March 22, a telephonic RPEA meeting was conducted

to act upon the recommendation of the Legislative Committee.  JJ Jelencic was endorsed by the RPEA Board for this seat on the CalPERS Board.”

Al Darby,

President
__________________________________________________________________

cid:image001.png@01D13669.DC06E380"California Rule"

The long-awaited State Supreme Court decision that threatened the “California Rule” has been issued and the court has held that the rule is still intact.  This rule has been in-place since the 1950’s and has always held that pension benefits that exist in the contract between a public employer and CalPERS at the time an employee is hired cannot be altered in such a way that reduces the value of that person’s pension at retirement.   This court ruling did permit “perks” (special benefits awarded by the state legislature but not “vested rights”) or special benefits bestowed by the legislature to be withdrawn by the legislature. 

The case before the court was that of “Airtime,” a special benefit awarded by the legislature in 2003 to Cal Fire and other safety employees to augment their pension allowance, was determined by the court to be a perk and thereby not a vested right.  This was a benefit that the employee had funded on his/her own and not an employer funded benefit, but the court still found this to be a perk that could be lawfully terminated in the 2012 pension reform act.

Fortunately, the California Rule was left intact by this decision which means that contracted benefits between CalPERS and public employers that exist when a person is hired must be maintained and, if altered, the value of the altered benefit must be of equal value in the replacement benefit.  The 2012 pension reform act (PEPRA) reduced benefits for new hires on or after 1/1/2013 but did not alter contracted benefits for existing employees (referred to as “classic employees”).    __________________________________________________________________

 

“On Feb. 26, Dr. Richard Pan, a State Senator, has introduced long term care legislation to address this growing crisis in California.  We will post more detailed information as this important legislation makes its way through the legislature. “

Al Darby, President

Senator Richard Pan and Assembly Member Ash Kalra introduced legislation to establish a new program to address the financing of long-term care services and support.  Below is the Press Release issued today by Dr. Pan regarding the legislation to address the state’s long-term care crisis. 

Dr. Richard Pan Introduces Measure Taking

Bold Step to Address the State’s Long-Term Care Crisis  

Coalition-backed legislation will create roadmap to long-term care benefit for middle-class Californians

SACRAMENTO – Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and state senator representing the Sacramento area, and Assemblymember Ash Kalra, representing San Jose, today announced new legislation that is the first step toward building a new program to finance long-term services and supports (LTSS) for California’s working and middle-class families.

California currently has almost 8 million persons who are either older adults or persons with mobility, sensory, intellectual, developmental, and/or mental health disabilities, many of whom struggle to afford the ongoing services and supports they need to live with dignity and independence.

As a result, millions of California families provide unpaid caregiving or mortgage their futures to provide care and support to their loved ones. Many must “spend down” their assets to qualify for Medi-Cal LTSS programs, putting additional pressure on an overburdened system and the state budget.

“As our family members and neighbors age, many families will need help caring for them at home or in a long-term care facility. But many families are unable to pay for needed care,” said Dr. Richard Pan, state senator representing the Sacramento region. “This bill will prepare California for an aging population by examining how middle class and working families can finance long term services and supports for their aging and disable loved ones.”

SB 512 creates the framework for a new program that would provide Californians with a managed cash benefit to spend on long-term services and supports. Also referred to as long-term care (LTC), LTSS consists of a broad range of day-to-day tasks that include personal care (bathing, dressing, toileting); complex care (medications, wound care); help with housekeeping, transportation, paying bills, and meals; and other ongoing social services. LTSS may be provided in the home, in assisted living and other supportive housing settings, in nursing facilities, and in integrated settings that provide both health care and supportive services.

“This is an important first step in addressing this critical need for a growing number of hardworking Californians,” said Assemblymember Kalra. “We look forward to working with the Governor and dedicated stakeholders to design a program that meets the needs of our most vulnerable communities.”

SB 512 was developed in concert with the California Aging and Disability Alliance (CADA), which includes a broad cross section of stakeholders, including statewide representatives of 20 aging, consumers, disability, labor, and provider groups.

“Our current system demands from people who have worked hard their whole lives to get rid of all their assets and income just to get the services they need,” said Doug Moore, Executive Director, UDW/AFSCME Local 3930. UDW represents more than 110,000 home care workers in California, who are paid poverty-level wages for the life-saving care they provide. “Many other families are overwhelmed trying to make a living while caring for their loved ones – in fact, caregiving is a significant driver of poverty in older women. This new program will bring relief to California’s middle-class families.”

The new benefit is designed to be available to families who earn too much to qualify for Medi-Cal and that program’s LTSS benefits, but who earn too little to afford long-term care insurance or to pay out of pocket for LTSS services.

“The costs of LTSS are beyond the reach of too many California families struggling to care for a loved one,” said Nancy McPherson, State Director for AARP California. “We need to expand access to these services in a way that is financially responsible for California and that empowers people who are aging or living with disabilities.”

The coalition includes:

  • AARP California
  • Alzheimer's Association
  • California Alliance for Retired Americans
  • California Association for Adult Day Services
  • California Commission on Aging
  • California Domestic Workers Coalition
  • California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
  • California Long-Term Care Ombudsman Association
  • CalPACE
  • Caring Across Generations
  • Congress of California Seniors
  • Disability Rights California
  • Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
  • Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
  • Justice in Aging
  • LeadingAge California
  • SEIU Local 2015
  • State Independent Living Council
  • The Arc of California
  • UDW/AFSCME Local 3930

 # # #

__________________________________________________________________

MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT AL DARBY:  The link shown at the end of the post below connects you to the proposed House of Representatives improvements to Social Security by the new Democratic majority.  If passed, this would greatly strengthen Social Security and secure its future into the next century.  It doesn’t mention WEP and GPO but our lobbyists will address this with their Washington DC associates.  This is the most comprehensive and positive reform of Social Security since 1983 (when WEP and GPO became a reality). 

House Democrats Unveil Social Security

Expansion Bill With Unprecedented

Support

Daniel Marans

HuffPostJanuary 30, 2019

https://news.yahoo.com/house-democrats-unveil-social-security-134500966.html

__________________________________________________________________

 

cid:image001.png@01D13669.DC06E380


President Darby Congratulates Gavin Newsom

 

  

__________________________________________________________________

President's Op/Ed to the Media re Public Safety Workers 

By Al Darby, President

While the California Supreme Court debates the merits of the cases before it related to public pensions, the Retired Public Employees’ Association (RPEA) feels compelled to raise the awareness of the general public about the increasing concerns about safety employees (police and firefighters) who are facing increased gun violence and wildfire peril.  Hardly a day goes by without another police shooting in which a perpetrator or a policeman is shot, with many of these confrontations resulting in death.  We have experienced record increases in wildfires over the past several years with unprecedented numbers of homes and other structures being destroyed.  In these conflagrations, firefighters are exposed to terrible smoke and sometimes toxic vapors.  Many suffer burns that can be very painful and disfiguring for life.

There is another public service job that is particularly vulnerable in relation to public pensions—teachers.  They are dependent on a robust pension system because they too are exempted from social security and only have a teacher’s pension to rely on in retirement.   Teachers are leaving the ranks in large numbers due to shrinking school budgets, charter school intrusion and threats to their pension system.

The public needs to be aware that safety-related public employees are increasingly difficult to find due to the dangers they face and the need for a solid pension at the end of their perilous careers.  At the present time, the ranks of police forces are thin and will likely become thinner due to less risky private sector job availability.  A few years ago, a major California city reduced the pension benefits of its safety employees and soon lost a large number of them to cities and counties who retained a pension system with the benefits they lost at their original employer.

To put into proper perspective the number of public retirees who receive public pensions in California, here are recent numbers from CalPERS regarding monthly pension allowances:  64% receive a pension of less than $3,000 monthly.  Safety employees can receive $3,000 to $7,000 monthly if they have 25 years of service—they do not receive Social Security. 

Many former critics of public pensions now agree that without solid public pensions our citizens are facing greater risk due to shrinking police and fire protection and reduced public services in general.   Teachers deserve a more secure retirement as well. 

 

IRS.gov BannerIssue Number:    IR-2018-251

Inside This Issue


IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2019

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2019 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 58 cents permile drivenfor business use, up 3.5 cents from the rate for 2018,
  • 20 cents per mile driven for medical or movingpurposes, up 2 cents from the rate for 2018, and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitableorganizations.

The business mileage rate increased 3.5 cents for business travel driven and 2 cents for medical and certain moving expense from the rates for 2018. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, except members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details see Notice-2019-02.

The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously. These and other limitations are described in section 4.05 of Rev. Proc. 2010-51.

Notice 2018-02, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

 

RPEA’s Endorsed Candidate Unseats CalPERS Board President

By Al Darby, President

In a stunning upset, Jason Perez, a Corona police officer and RPEA’s endorsed candidate, won the CalPERS Board seat held by long-time Board member and current Board President, Priya Mathur.  This places two members on the Board who are elected and represent active and retired CalPERS members who are committed to redirect CalPERS investment activities to more keenly focus on return on investment and less on divestment, environmental, social, and governance issues.  At 71% funded, the pension fund is not as “healthy” as it needs to be in terms of overall value and must be further enriched to fully back its pension promises.   An 80% funded level is considered healthy for a public pension fund. 

A new Chief Investment Officer and a new Chief Financial Officer have been added to the CalPERS staff in recent weeks.  Both of these new hires are considered to be highly qualified.  With them on-board we can expect new investment initiatives that will enhance return on investment and propel the fund back to the healthy level sooner than later—a very welcome condition.  We must also hold the discount rate at its current seven percent level to keep our contract agencies in a viable budgetary condition. 
__________________________________________________________________

We’re happy to report that General Assembly 2018 was a huge success!  Congratulations to the following new State Board Officers:

 

  • Al Darby– PRESIDENT
  • Rosemary Knox– VICE PRESIDENT
  • Bill Wallace– DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP
  • Lorenzo Rios– DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
  • Randall Cheek – DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATION
  • Harvey Robinson - DIRECTOR OF HEALTH BENEFITS
  • Al Fillon– AREA DIRECTOR IV
  • Jim Anderson– AREA DIRECTOR VI

RPEA extends a special Thank You! to all of the volunteers whose efforts contributed to the success of this event.  We couldn’t have done it without you!

________________________________________________________________________________

This memorial video was prepared for General Assembly 2018 by RPEA’s Public Relations firm, Marketplace Communications in honor of former RPEA President, George Linn who passed away in June of this year.  Introduction by President Al Darby.

George Linn Memorial Video from RPEA HQ on Vimeo.

 

 

cid:image001.png@01D13669.DC06E380

RPEA MEMBERSHIP GROWS

During October, we added 437 new members. AMBIA brought most of them to us but our own efforts at chapter level, statewide programs and internet (digital) are paying off with new members as well.


 

cid:image001.png@01D13669.DC06E380

RPEA Continues to Assist Victims of the ‘LA Works JPA’ , Who Suffered Pension Cuts

We continue our efforts to assist these 60 plus retirees from this joint powers authority that canceled its CalPERS contract without paying the termination fee.   RPEA representatives have often spoken at CalPERS Board meetings about this issue, and we have a commitment to review this to possibly get some relief for these retirees. 

 

***UPDATE***

 

From: CalPERS
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 8:59:26 AM
Subject: Increase In Retirement Allowances for East San Gabriel Valley Members

Valued stakeholders -  as you know, when the East San Gabriel Valley Human Resources Consortium (ESGVHRC) – also known as LA Works – lost funding and ceased making their pension contributions, the CalPERS Board followed the law and terminated ESGVHRC’s contract and reduced benefits for members and retirees of the agency. 

The Miscellaneous Plan liabilities used to calculate the benefit reduction for ESGV, , HRC have,,now, decre, ased, resulting in an increase in retirement allowances for members

We are sending notification letters to members this week, and those increases will be reflected in the October 1, 2018 warrants. 

Thank you,

David Teykaerts | Stakeholder Strategy Manager | CalPERS |

MESSAGE FROM RPEA President Al Darby:

“RPEA has fought for these folks for almost two years to mitigate their pension reduction and prevent this from happening again. I spoke in public comment many times at CalPERS Board meetings in defense of these 60+ folks who lost 63% of their pension due to their employer’s failure to pay the CalPERS termination fee.  Now, they’re getting part of their lost pension back.  They are very grateful to RPEA for our efforts on their behalf. “

 


 

cid:image001.png@01D13669.DC06E380State Supreme Court Pension Decision

It is expected that the state supreme court will hear oral arguments in December on the ‘California Rule’ issue.  The Governor has shown great interest in this and hopes to see this case argued while he is still in office (his legal counsel is arguing then case - not the state AG).  Many of the issues involved relate to his 2012 pension reform act that became law on January 1, 2013.  This supreme court decision could have unfavorable consequences for most current public employees and retirees if the appellate court decisions are upheld.

 

cid:image001.png, @01D13669.DC06E380State Supreme Court Hands San Diego City Workers A Pension Win 

San Diego miscellaneous workers were given a win in their fight to restore , the defined benefit pension that was , , terminated in 2012 by a ballot initiative.  , The court found that the Mayor did not negotiate pension issues with the city workers union prior to the initiative being placed on the ballot.  This violated public employee labor law.  (8/17/2018)

 

cid:image001.png@01D13669.DC06E380State Supreme Court Will Soon Decide the Future Course of California Public Pensions

We are anxiously awaiting the state Supreme Court ruling on several public pension cases that have been combined into one decision which is due later this year.  The worst-case scenario is the Marin County case in which the appeals court judge said that pensions only have to be reasonable and not have the same value at retirement as promised at the time of hire.  This could set in motion a steady decline in benefit structure as public agencies deal with the ‘ups and downs' of economic times and their budgets are strained during the 'down’ times.  We have seen this same scenario play out in the private sector where many corporations have cut promised pension benefits to former long-term employees.  Most public employees can ill afford pension cuts.  They are living on less than $36,000 per year now, and many do not receive Social Security.  Health care and drug costs are a major burden to many of these retirees.  Write to the court to express your strong support of the ‘California Rule’ that has kept public pensions safe.

 

cid:image001.png@01D13669.DC06E380

CalPERS Looks at Public Equity for Greater Return on Investment 

RPEA concerns about the “funded status&q, uot; of the CalPERS pension fund, which has been stalled at about 70%, for two years, have been recognized (based on a recent report from the CalPERS CEO), and Investment Committee effort is being intensified.  One initiative is to embark upon a private equity venture that would make CalPERS the general partner which makes the return on investment much better.  A separate board would govern this private equity entity.  This new approach to investing has not been implemented, but it will probably be approved for an early 2019 start date.  Achieving high returns on investments has been more difficult in recent years, so innovative measures are needed to enhance conventional investment methods.


 

 

RPEA Membership is ONLY $5.00 a month. That's only $60.00 a year!

 


 

ABOUT RPEA

RPEA is a non-profit association of retirees and active employees who are members of the California Public Retirement System (CalPERS). Our mission is important:

 

  • RPEA represents all public employees - classifiedschools, public agencies, and state.
  • RPEA is liaison between retirees and CalPERS.
  • RPEA is a mutual protective association for allbeneficiaries of CalPERS.
  • RPEA fights to maintain our current pension and healthcare benefits and improve these benefits every year.
  • RPEA has local chapters in your area - attend meetingsto stay informed and hear interesting speakers.