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Layoff creditable service bill gains initial approval

MTA's bill (S1513), permitting victims of local budget cuts to purchase creditable service toward retirement, has been reported favorably by the Legislature's Committee on Public Service.

The bill enables teachers laid off due to budget cuts to purchase up to three years of layoff time as creditable service toward retirement. On March 6, 2008, the bill was referred to Senate Ways and Means for fiscal review and recommendation.

The committee will now need to determine the extent that passage of S1513 will increase the state's liability each year until 2023, at which time the state's liability will be paid off. That process will take time, as yet undermined, as both Senate and House Ways and Means Committees are fully occupied with trying to balance what will be a very tight FY09 state budget.

While the budget writing committees are very busy, bill advocates still need to contact their own state senators and ask them to lobby the Chair of Senate Ways and Means (Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, D-Lowell) to report this bill to the full Senate for its consideration.

Call the State House switchboard at (617) 722-2000 and ask to be connected to your state senator's office. In corresponding with you senators, you should mention your own reasons for supporting S1513.

Also, S1513 provides that when laid-off teachers are rehired, they would be treated as if they had no break in service. However, any previously withdrawn contributions must be repaid, as well as required contributions for the time spent in a layoff status plus buyback interest.