North Carolina Health News: Budget Benefits Current State Retirees, But Dings Future Ones

Hidden in the NC GOP’s budget is a line that will end teacher/state employee retirement health benefits for new hires after 2020. This means new teachers are going to flee to other states with better benefits and will greatly affect our middle and elementary students who will still be in school when this goes into effect. The NC GOP claims they support public education, but their actions clearly do not reflect that. It’s obvious they’re continuing to prioritize tax breaks for the top 0.1% over education.

From North Carolina Health News:

Tucked deep into the 438-page state budget released late Monday evening is a provision stating that state employees hired four years from now will not receive health benefits from the state once they retire after decades of service.

The provision on page 406, not obvious at first, changes the definition in an old law to redefine an eligible retiree as someone who “earned contributory retirement service… prior to January 1, 2021 and did not withdraw that service.”

The only way to know what that means is to dig into the old law being changed, and realize this small change makes anyone hired after that date ineligible for retiree health benefits.

It doesn’t matter for anyone now, but it could matter when it comes time to recruit future workers.

“Retirement benefits are the cornerstone to recruitment and retention of good employees and it has been for many, many years,” said Richard Rogers from the N.C. Retired Governmental Employees’ Association. “It’s not competitive with the benefits that are offered.”