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April 24, 2014
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Teri Vogt-Rose, Burn Coordinator
(423) 508-2807 mrs.mongo@gmail.com
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2011 Union Rally on Capitol Hill
2011 TPFFA Legislative Conference
Helping our Brothers and Sisters after the 2010 Middle Tennessee Floods
MDA 2011
TCRS Bill Signed into Law
What's New at TPFFA
Fire Gas Study

An eight month study of air monitoring was conducted to provide information about determining when the atmosphere is safe for firefighters.  This report was presented at the Federation of State/Provincial Professional Fire Fighters meeting in April.

Air Monitoring Executive Summary

Air Monitoring Report

  

Corporate Welfare Affects Public Pension Plans

Enriching corporations by stealing from public pensions

By Hank Kim

April 8, 2014 • Reprints

Those of us in the public pension world know that the vast majority of plans are on solid financial ground – and that the few that aren’t are in jurisdictions whose legislatures have consistently failed to make some or all of the actuarially required contributions to those plans, even in boom economic times.
In the wake of the Great Recession, state and local politicians seeking to convert public DB plans to DC plans and/or cut plan benefits claim their jurisdictions simply do not have the resources to make the necessary pension payments. They claim that without the changes they want, core government services will suffer. They claim that pension costs are bankrupting their communities.

The rhetoric has been as impressive as it is deceitful. There’s money there to fund public pensions. It just isn’t going to public pensions – it’s going to wealthy corporations.

Individual examples of pension funds being raided to finance corporate subsidies have been reported in the media recently, but a far more detailed – and damning – picture is painted in a recent report by the nonpartisan research group Good Jobs First. The report looks at 10 states where the controversy over pension costs has been intense. In each state, it compares public pension costs to the amount of revenue lost to corporate welfare – including economic development subsidies, tax preferences and accounting loopholes (even offshore tax havens).

In all 10 states, the total annual cost of corporate welfare programs exceeds the total current annual pension costs. The money they are withholding from pension plans is not going to other core services or government functions. It’s going to Sears, Boeing, Google, Apple, Facebook, Verizon and other large corporations that auction off their new operations to the state that will come up with the heftiest package of incentives for locating there.

The biggest offender is Louisiana, which hands out $1.8 billion a year for such things as attracting motion picture production and natural gas plants – while Gov. Bobby JIndal is trying to force new state employees into a cash-balance retirement plan to reduce the state’s annual pension obligation of $348 million. That’s just 19 percent of what the state spends in corporate welfare.

Next comes Florida. With annual pension costs of $905 million, it spends more than four times that amount – $3.8 billion – on corporate subsidies. Colorado’s annual pension costs are just 30 percent of its nearly $600 million in corporate subsidies. Michigan’s pension costs are 32 percent of the $1.86 billion it spends on corporate welfare. In the aggregate, the annual pension costs for all 10 states are almost exactly half of what those states give away to corporations.

Backers of corporate subsidies say they want to create jobs and make their local economies stronger. But it seems no one knows if and when those subsidies actually achieve those goals. The New York Times reported recently that governments rarely track how many jobs are created by corporate welfare – and even those who do admit it’s impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created even if the subsidies hadn’t been granted.

What has been established with absolute certainty is that public pensions strengthen local economies and the national economy. We know that 90 percent of retirees remain in the communities where they worked. We know that every dollar paid out in pension benefits generates $2.36 in economic activity. So the more than $175 billion in annual public pension benefit distributions represents a powerful source of economic stimulus and provides economic stability, both locally and nationally.

We also know that cutting pension benefits will produce the opposite effects.

So it seems to us at NCPERS that elected officials should be viewing public pension benefits as a critical, long-term resource for ensuring economic strength and security for their communities. If supporting their communities is truly their goal, they should be reducing the amount of money they are devoting to risky corporate subsidies and investing more in a sure thing.

About the Author

Hank Kim
Hank Kim

Hank Kim is the executive director and counsel of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

60 Years Strong MDA and Firefighters

This year is the 60th Anniversary of the partnership between MDA and Firefighters. Everyone did such a wonderful job last year. We were so blessed to have so many locals partner with MDA in 2013 and I am excited about 2014.  I just wanted to show you some new materials and a video that we will be rolling out to celebrate our partnership this year.

Holly S. Carroll, Area Director
Muscular Dystrophy Association
(423) 599-5102
hvaughn@mdausa.org

Scam/Fraud Alert

Fraud Alert from our Brothers and Sisters in Massachusetts

SUBJECT:  Scammers use Boston Firefighters' death to make money.

ALERT: The below sponsored post has been popping on many user's walls. They first used the name of one of our pages fraudulently to sell the item. Obviously, they are trying to take advantage of the families of grieving firefighters by selling a scam shirt. We were able to have an earlier campaign selling this shirt shut down, but then they started selling this one when Teespring's offices closed. Please share.
  
[https://scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t1.0-9/1506396_307153409431769_1717548445_n.jpg]

NTA Life Benefits Available for Members

NTA Life 
Protecting the Heart of Our Community

TPFFA members can now take advantage of the great benefits offered by NTA Life at very affordable rates.

NTA Life is a respected leader in the insurance industry, and provides supplemental health benefits to union and association members. The products offered by NTA Life are among the finest available, and backed with outstanding professional service and support. Knowing this, several state and local teacher and fire organizations nationwide offer NTA Life products.

To learn more about NTA Life products offered to TPFFA members please visit the website, (www.ntalife.com) or contact NTA Life to speak with a representative at (888) 671-6771.


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