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Vt. teachers protest lawmakers’ proposed pension fix

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - Teachers around Vermont Tuesday protested a proposal that asks them and state employees to pay more into their retirement plan.

Dozens of educators from the Maple Run School District were out in St. Albans voicing their strong opposition to the bill which aims to shore up their pension fund. It stems from a $3 billion deficit in the retirement funds for public sector employees, a problem that has been growing for decades. The plan proposed by state lawmakers would require the teachers to pay more money into the system, stay in the workforce longer, and receive fewer benefits. The plan would also inject an immediate $150 million in federal funds to help close the pension gap.

“We’re going to have to wait longer to get it, pay more to get it, and to get less when we actually receive it. We have paid into every single payment that’s been asked of us, we’ve shown up for students and communities every time we’ve been asked. We didn’t cause this problem to be created but the solution is on our backs and that can’t be,” said Mike Campbell, a local social studies teacher.

Governor Phil Scott weighed Tuesday gave credit to the Legislature for tackling an issue he says has been ignored for far too long. “It’s not sustainable the way it is right now. We spend hundreds of millions on this obligation and we can’t keep up at this rate,” he said.

Teachers supported a plan by Progressives that called for Vermont’s highest earners to help make up the deficit.

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