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January 29
1945 - Local residents vote 1,184 to 7 (correct, seven) to create SCV high school district [story]

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SACRAMENTO – State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, representing the 21st Senate District, announced Thursday that Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR 3) has unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement. SJR 3 encourages the United States Congress and President to repeal two federal retirement benefit laws that reduce Social Security benefits in certain circumstances for public employees and their spouses.

“While this seems complicated, it is not. Some of our hardest-working public servants, including peace officers, firefighters and educators, see their social security benefit slashed because of these federal policies,” said Wilk. “These policies disproportionately impact women and the federal government needs to ensure retirees receive the benefits they have rightfully earned.”

The Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), passed in the 1970s with little statistical analysis, were designed to prevent “double-dipping” from social security and other government pensions. The GPO cuts benefits when an individual receives a government pension, and their spouse is eligible for social security from non-government employment. Similarly, the WEP cuts an individual’s benefits when they are eligible for social security and government pensions from separate employers.

Why does this matter? It is unfair.
– If you have had a non-public sector career and, for example, in later life become a teacher, the social security benefits you earned from your non-public sector career would be eliminated or slashed. Teachers, as a group, do not receive generous retirement benefits, so a policy that penalizes them from receiving their rightfully earned Social Security from a previous job is really a double whammy and infinitely unfair.
– 72-percent of teachers are women. The ramifications of this penalty are usually discovered when a spouse passes away and a widow’s household income is dramatically reduced because social security benefits are gutted.
– If you work in the private sector, pay social security and are the spouse of a person who is eligible for a pension that does not pay into social security (like a peace officer or teacher) the benefits you rightfully earned will be diminished, sometimes by up to 50 percent.
Other consequences of these problematic policies are that they disproportionately affect lower-income workers and can discourage qualified individuals from seeking public-sector jobs: such as STEM education. Our future depends on students having access to education in science, technology, engineering and math. Experts in these fields – for example people that have good careers in aerospace – would not consider second careers in education because of the ramifications to retirement under WEP and GPO.

“These laws were intended to prevent people from taking advantage of the government, but instead, they have resulted in the government taking advantage of its people,” said Wilk. “I am thankful to my colleagues on the committee for helping me take this step forward, and I hope the federal government will hear us and finally take action.”

SJR 3 has support from a number of groups representing public educators and law enforcement, including the California Teachers Association, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, and the Peace Officers Research Association (PORAC). The measure now moves to the Senate Floor.

SJR 3 will now go to the Senate Floor for consideration by the full Senate.

Senator Wilk represents the 21st Senate District which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor Valleys. Learn more about Scott by visiting his website and be sure to connect with him on social media.

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5 Comments

  1. Margaret Yates says:

    I pray that this bill passes. I chose to teach because I wanted to make a difference. To be penalized for that decision is just not right. I have spent years paying into Social Security. I could see reducing my Social Security if I was going to receive a huge retirement sum. That isn’t the case. Please don’t penalize teachers! Please vote to pass this bill!

  2. Linda Means says:

    Thank you for addressing this unfair practice!! The twenty five years I worked before teaching mean that my career as an educator was shorter, resulting in a smaller pension. I could really use the social security benefits I earned and would be entitled to if I hadn’t become a teacher!

  3. Rick Lopez says:

    We need this bill to pass and the federal government needs to approve changing it. It makes absolutely no sense at all that when I’m paying into social security the full amount required, that I cannot get my full entitled SS amount at retirement only because because I also paid into a public retirement system. It’s robbery at the hands of the government. I’ve paid my taxes and my fair share into social security. I shouldn’t get penalized for having another retirement.

  4. Paul munox says:

    Sir, thank you for taking up this matter. Please contact me if you need any type of support!

  5. Paul munoz says:

    Sir, thank you for taking up this matter. Please contact me if you need any type of support!

Leave a Comment


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