Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Key subcommittees of legislature will address PEBP funding

Dear NFA members and all colleagues,

At the present, the issue of greatest concern to most of us -- and which is not getting as much attention as it should in the press -- is the very serious threat to the PEBP system for both active workers and retirees. The HR department just yesterday sent out an email that details the severe, even crippling cuts to the PEBP system, that the Governor has proposed.

The state Senate Finance Committee and state Assembly Ways & Means Committee have announced the members of the "General Government" subcommittees which will address PEBP funding, and their work will begin soon, on February 18th.

It would be useful to contact these legislators, who are listed below, especially any who represent the district you live in. Information about districts and contact information are readily available here.

In any communications, be polite and respectful, be clear about who you are and what your concern is, and suggest that they be aware of the following points:
  • The Governor's budget proposed to cut not only the $50m per annum that had been announced last fall by the PEBP Board, and not only the full slate of SAGE cuts to PEBP, but an additional $90m in cuts were added to in the Executive Budget.
  • That is money that will be made up by higher premiums, deductibles, co-payments and reduced coverage for our families. The out-of-pocket increase for a family covered by PEBP will be from $2000 to $4000 for the year (increases in premiums, deductibles and co-payments combined) for health care coverage alone.
  • The Governor's budget really represents what one might consider "SAGE plus" :
  1. It not only adopts the very draconian proposals of the SAGE Commission to cut deeply existing health care benefits for retirees, and eliminating such benefits for current workers -- it also accelerates the timeline for those cuts and eliminations. This will undoubtedly result in unforseen additional costs to the state as faculty and staff, already facing losses of retirement benefits in defined-contribution accounts, will put off retirement to retain health care benefits.
  2. For active workers, the Governor proposes to cut the state subsidy for health care premiums by 50%. This proposal was considered by the SAGE Commission but not approved, because a majority of the Commission members thought it too drastic. Instead, the Commission merely recommended a study to compare state employee benefits to private sector benefits.
  • We understand the situation the state is in and have been and continue to be ready to do our part, but deep cuts to health benefits will cause irreparable damage to the state in the form of loss of our competitive position to recruit and retain top faculty. There are other solutions, which would be more fair and better serve the state, than to add these deep PEBP cuts on top of losses of salary for faculty and staff and of cuts to operating budgets for UNLV.
Here is the list of sub-committee members to contact. Southern Nevada representatives are italicized. Please let us know of any substantive response that you receive or any invitations for further information, at unlvfaculty@gmail.com

  • Stephen Horsford (chair)
  • Dean Rhoads
  • Warren Hardy
  • Joyce Woodhouse

  • Mo Denis (chair)
  • Kathy McClain
  • Marcus Conklin
  • Pete Goicoechea
  • Joe Hogan
  • Ellen Koivisto
In solidarity,
Gregory Brown
Nevada Faculty Alliance
(702) 580-7798

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