MT Public Employees: Pensions Help State's Economy
Monday, March 8, 2021
HELENA, Mont. -- Montana's public employees are touting the roles they play in communities, even after they retire.
According to AARP, retirement checks from more than 23,000 public employees in Montana helped support more than $1 billion in economic output in 2019.
Rep. Moffie Funk, D-Helena, a retired teacher, said the money stays in communities.
"The money that we get from our pensions, we put back into our local economies," Funk explained. "So, it's great for our state's economy as well as for our lifestyle."
The average pension paid to Montana Public Employees' Retirement System members is $1,544 a month, and AARP said tax dollars make up a little less than 20% of the cost of benefits.
Public employees said they are watching the Legislature to see if any measures this session might affect their pension system.
Debbie Willis, a retired probation and parole officer in Billings, believes there's more security to a pension when compared with to a 401(k), which is tied to the stock market.
She also noted pensions are good tools for recruiting and retaining public employees.
"You'll have this pension; this is your security," Willis asserted. "This is something that you'll have on top of your Social Security when you retire, or on top of another job wage that you have. Those would be the things that I would tell a new employee."
Funk argued public workers owe the strength of their retirement benefits to unions, so she was excited to see the defeat last week of House Bill 251, which would have made Montana into a "right-to-work" state.
Funk added unions mobilized about 500 people, who showed up at the state Capitol to push back on the bill at a public hearing.
"With a few hours notice, some of them drove across the state to be there," Funk observed. "And that's the power of the organizing of our unions; that they can get that kind of turnout."
get more stories like this via email
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …
LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…
DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …
SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…
CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …
BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …