Early next week, legislation ensuring unwanted changes to Louisiana's Firefighters Retirement System will be up for vote in the Senate. Neither the Firefighters nor their leadership have asked for these changes. Here are some quick facts to be aware of regarding SB3:
- Future Firefighters will not receive the same benefits as current members. Are they not worthy of the same benefits for risking their lives?
- It's unfair to charge one employee the same contribution rate for a lesser benefit than his or her co-workers receive.
- Firefighters accepted a 25% increase in pension contributions 5 years ago to help do their part. This saved cities over $20 million in the past 5 years. SB3 is projected to save merely $4 million over the next 5 years.
- Firefighters agreed to pay 1% more in pension contributions to fund 25 and out. SB3 removes 25 and out, but doesn't reduce the contribution rate to compensate for it.
- Employer contribution rates are dropping by 2% July 1, 2016. This is the second reduction in 2 years. This will save cities over $30 million over the next 4 years.
- Under SB3, a member could suffer a line of duty debilitating injury in his or her 29th year and be one day shy of reaching their 30 year mark. This member would be forced to retire at 90% where if they'd worked an additional day, they would receive 100%. Sen. Peacock testified in Committee that his bill did not change the law pertaining to disabilities, but the law on disabilities uses the accrual rate that SB3 reduces for new hires. This decreases it from 3.3% to 3% if they retire for any reason prior to attaining 30 full years of service.
- This bill will make recruiting and retention even more difficult than it already is.
Contact your legislator today to let them know you stand with your community's firefighters.