Search

March 2020

SPOKANE CHAPTER 32 NEWSLETTER

Published Monthly except July and August

www.narfespokane.org

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.