***SB 129 Retirement Fix Bill****
From Chief Ross, President of Utah Chiefs Association:
“This bill could hit the Senate for a floor vote on Monday at 2:00. We are gearing up to have an “overwhelming presence” at the Capitol. We will need Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers, Fire Chiefs and Firefighters to fill the Senate Gallery and also lobby Senators at the main entrance doors. If we have enough, we will also lobby Representatives at the House main entrance doors. We have an opportunity to get this long overdue improvement to our public safety retirement done this year but we must show up and be counted!”
PLEASE like and share……..and most importantly, be to the meeting, especially if you are in the Tier II System. This affects YOU and your family.
Please arrive early, parking is limited! Try to come in uniform, make sure you have approval from your department prior. If you can’t come in uniform, come dressed to impress.
Letter from Utah Chief’s
PUBLIC SAFETY TIER 2 RETIREMENT
Need for Amendments
The Utah Chiefs of Police Association strongly encourages the legislature to increase the retirement contribution for Public Safety Tier 2 employees to 2% per year of service. We maintain that the changes made to the retirement benefits for law enforcement and firefighters in 2011 were inequitable and went too far. The current contribution for Tier 2 law enforcement officers and firefighters of 1.5% is deficient and disappointing. We make these assertions based on the facts provided hereafter.
Of the employees affected by the changes in 2011, law enforcement officers and firefighters were the only ones to have their full-retirement benefit decreased. All public employees had 5 years added to the number of years required to reach full retirement, but only law enforcement officers and firefighters lost money as shown in Table 1.
|YEARS REQUIRED FOR FULL RETIREMENT||PERCENT OF AVG ANNUAL SALARY RECEIVED ANNUALLY AT FULL RETIREMENT|
|Group||Tier 1||Tier 2||Change||Tier 1||Tier 2||Change|
|Public Safety (sworn officers and firefighters)||20||25||5||50||37.5||-12.5|
|All Other Public Employees||30||35||5||60||60||0|
Table 1. Changes to retirement benefits by group
The Tier 2 retirement system for public safety caps the employer’s contribution responsibility at 12%. Any cost over the cap will be the employee’s responsibility. The contribution amount is currently at 11.26%. Within a few years, we will likely be taking money out of the pockets of our law enforcement officers and firefighters to pay for their own disappointing 37.5% pension.
Of the surrounding states, Utah is at the bottom for the pension offered to law enforcement officers and firefighters (see Table 2). The percent of a Utah officer’s or firefighter’s salary received as pension per year of service, also known as the multiplier, is almost a full percent lower than the average of the other states. That 1% difference over a 25 year career amounts to considerably less income for our officers and firefighters for doing the same job as their counterparts, as shown in Table 2.
|State||Multiplier||Percent of Avg Annual Salary after 25 Years||Annual Pension on a $50,000 Salary||Difference in Amount Received by Utah PS||Difference Expressed in Percent|
*Yrs 1-10= 2%, Yrs 11-25 = 2.5%
Table 2. Comparison of Retirement Benefits to Surrounding States
There has been much discussion amongst state and local government leaders about who should pay to make the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ retirement system whole again. Some state leaders have expressed their opinion that it is not the state’s responsibility to help pay the costs for local public safety. While local leaders say they simply do not have the money in their budgets. Neither side presents a good enough argument to look the other way.
That said, from a law enforcement perspective, the State of Utah should share the burden of funding law enforcement for the same reasons it pays to maintain roads that run through multiple jurisdictions and pays to educate children living in local jurisdictions. A municipal police officer would not turn a blind eye to a situation that compromised the safety of the public simply because the situation was occurring on a state road. Law enforcement officers are sanctioned by the State of Utah and have a duty to uphold the laws of the State of Utah, throughout the State of Utah.
The insurance premium tax and the liquor profit tax funds are appropriate sources to fund the Tier 2 increase. There is a strong nexus between the insurance industry and law enforcement. Before a victim of a theft or a driver in traffic accident can even contact their insurance company to submit a claim, they must report the incident to law enforcement. Law enforcement then investigates the incident and writes a report that the insurance company uses to validate and process the claim. If an insurance company suspects there is a fraudulent claim, law enforcement is contacted to investigate that as well. Local law enforcement officers are the investigators for the insurance industry. As far as a nexus between law enforcement and liquor, it goes without saying that many of the duties of law enforcement are directly affected by alcohol consumption.
The truth revealed by the numbers is that the men and women who put their lives on the line for the people of Utah were wronged with the changes made to the retirement system in 2011. Until these wrongs are made right, the underlying message to them is that for the next 25 years, they must be willing to give their life for the lives of others. In return, after 25 years on the job which has been valued at the same level as any and all jobs held by public employees, they will receive a 37.5% pension for their service; a service that has been valued at 40% less than that of their counterparts in the states that surround the Great State of Utah.