Frustrated by heavy union opposition to its plan to reduce the multi-billion state pension deficit, House leadership instead wants to create a problem-solving task force, with just a minority of labor voices at the table.
The political credibility Progressives bought with labor leaders is not the only factor working in their favor. By delaying the pension issue to next year, Krowinski is not only kicking the can down the road, she’s setting it up for a time closer to the 2022 elections. This issue will be much more ripe in voters minds, and union members in particular will be more likely to recall whatever actions the Legislature takes next session.
The reality is that reform has to happen this year. Our retirement liability has grown $1,000,000,000 in the last twelve months and it’s only going to grow more. This will require more draconian cuts from beneficiaries and a more burdensome tax increase on Vermonters.
The Vermont AFL-CIO is calling state employees and teacher unions to strike over the Vermont House’s March 26 rejection of a wealth tax to bail out the public pension deficit.
Word began circulating last week that the Speaker had a “secret group” of legislators working on a pension plan, the Campaign for Vermont (CFV) reports. That “secret group” turned out to be the leaders of the House Government Operations Committee, who released their proposal on Wednesday.
Recommendations proposed by State Treasurer Beth Pearce would, if successfully enacted, reduce the pension fund shortfall and maintain defined benefits, she said in a January 15 report.