Pensions work better for teachers than 401(k)s, expert writes

One of the arguments being made by politicians attacking teacher pensions nationally is that 401(k)s would be better for teachers anyway. Don’t believe it, writes Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center. “Our research shows, by the time most active teachers leave service — in their early 50s or later — they will be far better off with their pensions than they would have been with 401(k)s,” Rhee writes in a Los Angeles Times column.

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Legislative Update – July 18

Senate Republicans today released their own budget proposal. In it, the Senate GOP includes all actions taken by the Joint Finance Committee mid-June, along with some areas of K-12 funding that have been agreed upon by the Senate and Assembly. Senate leadership is hoping the plan will prompt Assembly Republicans to engage on the outstanding issues holding up the budget, and that the finance committee would move swiftly to move a budget through.

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Legislative Update – July 17

Senate Republicans announced they will release their own budget proposal Tuesday, something Capitol insiders have been speculating about for some time. The state budget is currently two weeks overdue. According to statehouse insider WisPolitics, a spokeswoman for Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said the document was still being drafted by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

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NEA video honors Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin

A new NEA video pays tribute to Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, winner of this year’s Mary Hatwood Futrell Award at the annual NEA Convention. “There is no greater champion of women’s rights, worker rights and the middle class,” it says. At the end of the tribute video, WEAC President Ron Martin accepts the award on Baldwin’s behalf because she could not attend the ceremony because of her duties in the U.S. Senate. Baldwin was nominated for the award by the WEAC Human and Civil Rights Committee.

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Legislative Update – July 14

While transportation is the main issue bogging down the state budget right now, the issue of private school vouchers is lurking in the background. The Assembly Speaker this week told a Capitol insider that “anything’s possible” when it comes to raising income limits for voucher school eligibility to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, ($73,800 for family of four). While Republican Senators oppose increasing income limits, the word is that they would support lifting enrollment caps for the statewide voucher program. Assembly Republicans, however, have said their caucus is against that move.

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Federal Health Care Action Alert!

The revised Senate health care bill converts Medicaid to a system of capped payments to states and pegs future adjustments to the consumer price index instead of medical care costs – which generally rise faster. The result? It is estimated federal Medicaid outlays will decrease 26 percent by 2026. This endangers all students, especially the most vulnerable children, and the public schools that serve them. Contact your senators now!

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