SPOKANE CHAPTER 32 NEWSLETTER
Published Monthly except July and August
20 - 03 Advocates for Current and Former Federal Employees March 2020
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE Scott Robinson
President Trump recently released his fiscal year 2021 budget proposal. It recommends an inadequate 1.0 percent pay raise for federal employees in 2021, which falls short of his budget’s recommendation for the military. This same budget also recommends nearly $180 billion cuts to federal benefits. After thoroughly reviewing the president's recommendations, NARFE's advocacy team will strategically set out to defeat any measures that threaten the preservation of America's federal employees' and retirees earned pay and benefits. I believe the President should not hold federal employees and retiree’s hostage to pay for his other high-priced programs.
March is NARFE-PAC month, which is the perfect time to promote the PAC to our fellow members. Doing so is critical because we are in a new stage of the election cycle. A strong NARFE-PAC month will ensure that the PAC has the fortitude to fight for our federal retirement security in upcoming elections. Look for more information on what we can do to promote NARFE-PAC as it becomes available.
Early Bird registration (greatest cost savings) for FEDCON 2020 in Scottsdale, AZ ends March 31. Attendees will experience two-and-a-half days of thought-provoking speakers, leadership training, intensive education on federal benefits, and opportunities to connect with fellow NARFE members and federal colleagues. For more details on FEDCON20, visit NARFE.org/FedCON20.
PROGRAM Louise Soles
Our February 10th speaker was Candice Correia, Assistant Professor at Whitworth University. Her expertise is in the area of taxation and she made this subject very interesting for us. Candice had some surprising information. Since the 2018 tax law changes, only 5 to 7% of Americans itemize on their tax returns! The top deductions are medical expenses and real estate. Since gifts to charities do not affect your taxes unless you itemize, and now so few do so, there have been less contributions to non-profits because the tax changes. Union fees are no longer deductible. The standard deduction for a single person is $12,200 and married jointly is $24,400 but those over 65 may qualify for more. Since the new tax laws went into effect, taxes collected by the IRS have been less than projected. Income tax has been 5.4% less than projected, and corporate taxes are a whopping 38.7% less than projected! Professor Correia said that right now "we are in dire need because of the National Deficit which needs to be corrected with higher taxes or some other way". (Roger Bosky, NARFE Legislative Chair, warned that a Republican Congressional Committee has called federal employees overpaid and has recommended cuts to health and other benefits.) Candice advised keeping tax records for 7 years. If you are an AARP member, there are sites around the Spokane area that will do your taxes for free. I don't have room for all the information but use this website to learn more. www.spokanecash.org.
Rev. Ian Robertson is on the agenda for March 9th. Since retiring, Rev. Robertson has started a new organization where he continues his ministry work. He is one of the original organizers of The Hub in Liberty Lake. He initiated a plan to build "tiny houses" for the homeless. And now he is focusing on a program in Colville WA. The issue of homelessness continues to receive a lot of attention in Spokane and around the country. Ian will explain his vision for helping to abate this social challenge.
April's speaker will be Joe Guarisco who worked for the USDA Forest Service between 1996 and 2015 as an illustrator and publisher. He worked on a Forest Service cultural preservation team working with various government agencies across the country and internationally. The team partnered with USAID, The Nature Conservancy, World Bank and other international funding sources, and private land-based entities on sustainable tourism-based projects. As a Federal Employee, Joe had some very unique experiences locally and abroad.
VICE PRESIDENT REPORT Arlene Patton
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY CHAPTER 32: NARFE was formed in 1921 and shortly thereafter Chapter 32 was organized on March 1, 1950, 70 years ago this month. Looking over our Chapter membership we have 393 Chapter members and 203 members that have elected to be National members only. It’s hard to believe but of the 393 Chapter members we have 105 members that joined NARFE (Chapter 32) in the 1960s (1 member), 1970s (9 members), 1980s (28 members) and 1990s (67 members) A special celebration/program is being planned for our June 8th Chapter meeting. Hope many of you will join us for the celebration.
The 2020 Washington State Federation (WSF) Conference: The conference will be held in Lynnwood, WA on May 19-21, 2020. Hotel information and registration is posted on the WSF website: NARFEWA.org. Hope to see a good turnout from Chapter 32 in attendance.
DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
(Canceled until further notice)
March 9th Chapter Meeting
March 23rd Board Meeting
April 13th Chapter Meeting
April 21&22 Pre-Retirement Seminar
LEGISLATION Roger Bosky
THE PRESIDENT PROPOSES, THE CONGRESS DISPOSES
Like last year, the President’s budget proposal contains many cuts and belt-tightening items which would adversely affect Federal employees and retirees.
The proposed FY 2021 budget contains such items as increasing contributions to retirement programs and health insurance, reducing or eliminating COLA’s for employees and retirees, eliminating the FERS supplement, and many other hits to our earned benefits. The proposal also contains a modest 1% pay increase.
Recently, the House Republican Study Committee has a proposed even more draconian measures on the civil service. The Committee labeled employees’ pay as too high and recommended phasing in the elimination of pensions in favor of a TSP match.
The upside to all this bad news is that Congress has largely ignored these types of proposals in the past. But they cannot be ignored since they reflect the President’s priorities.
In the meantime, NARFE has helped us get a 3.1% raise and paid family leave for employees. Now, let’s push for doing away with the Windfall Elimination Provision which has hurt so many retirees.
NOTICE: Washington State Federation has a new website. The address is www.narfewa.org.
MEMBERSHIP Sandy Cook
As you know this newsletter writing is all very new to me. Thank you in advance for any tips, hints and encouragement. Margie Dennis has graciously agreed to allow access to her historical files for which I am grateful.
Did you know that retirees can sign up for membership dues to be pulled out of your retirement by OPM so that you never have to think about it again? I have dues withholding and have found it to be extremely easy and painless. It’s one less payment to remember. Just sign up and each month 1/12th of your yearly dues will be sent to NARFE until you decide to change it. To apply for dues withholding:
Your authorization may be sent to your chapter or directly to National Headquarters. National Headquarters requires your authorization at least 60 days prior to your expiration date to allow adequate time for processing.
You will need your …
• Civil Service Annuity (CSA or CSF) number.
• Social Security number.
• Date of birth, and
• NARFE membership number, if you are already a member.
Once the application process is completed, you will receive a special membership card distinguishing you as a Dues Withholding member. If you require more information, contact NARFE National Headquarters at 800-456-8410, or by mail. My experience with Headquarters is that they are very helpful.
You can also pay for 3 years at a time, so again, you do not have to worry about when your dues is due for a couple extra years. When you renew online, there is a button on the bottom of the renewal page that asks you to choose how many years you want to renew for.
Wishing you a pot o’gold, and all the joy your heart can hold.
NARFE is really more than just a great magazine. Let them know!
Promote NARFE anytime you can. The more members we have the more power to protect our benefits and retirement!
NARFE = YOUR BEST BET FOR THE FUTURE!
NARFE-PAC MaryAnn Bosky
You can contribute to NARFE-PAC at our monthly meetings at Darcy’s or by completing the NARFE-PAC contribution form in the NARFE magazine. I will have pins for a $25 contribution at our meeting.
The more members we have the more power to protect our benefits/retirement. We are speaking to all members not just those retired.
SEMINAR & OUTREACH Kathy Brooks
It is that time of year to again begin planning the 2020 Pre-Retirement Seminar. The dates are Tuesday & Wednesday, April 21 & 22, 2020. If you are aware of anyone interested in attending, please let me know.
Spokane Chapter 32’s new website has launched. You can view it at www.narfespokane.org. Please take a look and share your thoughts.
SUNSHINE Susan Harvey
Our Chapter has suffered a severe loss in the passing of Lester Ames. We were fortunate to have him attend many of our meetings to share his insights and many funny, some would say, corny jokes. Our Chapter members helped him celebrate his 100th birthday in 2019.
Chapter 32 sends birthday and anniversary wishes to all who celebrated in January and upcoming February celebrations.
REMINDER, spouses can be members OR can take over the membership of a deceased member. If you are interested in continuing this very valuable membership, please contact membership chair, Sandy Cook at 509-294-3296 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you become aware of good news, illnesses, surgeries, or a death of a member or family member, please contact me.
ALZHEIMER’S Pat Hegerberg
Seaweed-Based Drug Approved for Alzheimer's
The first prescription drug since 2003 to be approved for Alzheimer's is now available in China but not yet in the United States.
Much to the surprise of the global Alzheimer's research community, the remedy, called GV-971, has been given the go-ahead in China following successful trials.
The makers of the drug are considering asking the FDA to create a “compassionate use” indication to allow people to access this drug in the U.S., while we await more clinical study. The research is certainly promising.
Geng Meiyu, the scientist who started development of the drug in 1997, was interested in the connection between poor gut health and Alzheimer's. This led her to look at the properties of seaweed to restore balance to the intestinal flora. It’s a novel strategy to combat the disease.
In a mouse model of Alzheimer's, unbalanced gut bacteria led to infiltration of immune system T cells into the brain, where they stoke neuro-inflammation. Treatment with GV-971 altered the microbiome so it no longer triggered an inflammatory response.
Spokane Washington Chapter 32
PO Box 4592
Spokane, WA 99220
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association 32