July 1, 2015
Good news: District court has ruled in favor of MEA-MFT in our case to save Montana teachers’ Guaranteed Annual Benefit Adjustment (GABA). You can read the court decision here.
No doubt the state will appeal, as it has done in the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) GABA litigation it lost. But MEA-MFT expects to prevail.
“We saved and amortized TRS as a defined benefit pension retirement plan in the 2013 Legislature, and now in district court we have secured GABA as originally intended for all Tier One enrollees, those enrolled before July 1, 2013,” said MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver.
“We, MEA-MFT, have delivered as promised,” said Feaver. “We successfully worked in the 2013 Legislature to pass a bill amortizing and saving the Teachers Retirement System defined benefit retirement plan. And we have now litigated successfully to eliminate an unwelcome legislative amendment to our TRS bill that fiddled around with GABA, or guaranteed annual benefit adjustment, that all retirees receive after three years of retirement.
“Our union at work. Delivering what we promise. Delivering on Montana’s promise that public school educators may retire in comfort. Time to recognize and celebrate our union for the work we do!”
In the 2013 Montana legislative session, MEA-MFT worked successfully to pass HB 377, a bill that amortized and saved the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) as a pension system.
But the Tea Party-controlled legislative leadership added an amendment to HB 377 that reduced GABA for TRS retirees. In passing this amendment, the legislature stepped over constitutional and statutory lines.
The legislature did the same on a bill MEA-MFT helped pass to save and amortize the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).
Both GABA reductions were completely unnecessary. The courts previously threw out the PERS GABA reduction. Now the TRS GABA is saved, as well.