State Budget Proves Value of Union Political Action

Monday, May 23, 2022
On April 9, New York State Governor, Kathy Hochul, approved the state budget passed in both houses of the state congress. The budget contains several pieces of legislation that positively impact all members of our state retirement system (NYSTRS).
One of the main reasons why these pro-teacher pieces of legislation were passed was the lobbying efforts of our state teachers union, NYSUT, and the funding of those efforts that came from our VOTE-COPE contributions.
Here are some highlights of the legislation in the newly approved state budget:
  • Tier 5 and 6 members can now be vested in the Retirement System with five years of service credit instead of the previously required 10 years. Vesting means a member is eligible for a guaranteed service retirement (or a deferred-vested retirement benefit if the member leaves teaching before retirement age).
  • Recognizing that the pandemic has caused many teachers to take on additional duties, state legislators made temporary changes to the way the Tier 6 member contribution rate is determined. For contributions made during the two fiscal years ending June 30, 2023 and June 30, 2024, the contribution percentage rate will be determined using only a member’s annual base wages and will not include extra earnings such as stipends for extracurricular programs. 
  • An extension to the suspension of the cap on annual retirement earnings for NYSTRS retirees who return to work at a public school district or BOCES. The law is intended to address the pandemic-related labor shortage and will allow retired teachers to take certain jobs without an effect on their pension benefits. Earnings received from a public school district or BOCES from April 9, 2022 through June 30, 2023 will not count toward the $35,000 annual cap on public employment earnings.
Full details on the 2022 legislation can be found on the NYSTRS website below:


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