Message from the Executive Director
We enter 2021 with some of the same problems that we ended in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is still running rampant and political strife remains as ugly as ever as we clearly saw on January 6 at the Capitol. The difference is that we can look forward to better days. People are already receiving vaccinations that are very effective at preventing COVID. Furthermore, in less than two weeks there will be a changing of the guard in national politics and the new leadership seems much more amenable to helping state and local governments navigate the problems that beset them last year.
In North Carolina, our new legislature begins it long session in January. Your NCRGEA lobby team has already introduced ourselves to the newcomers to the General Assembly and are in contact with the old hands about ways to help retired governmental employees going forward.
Our most important goals continue to be our greatest challenge. The state and local pension plan investments did not meet required interest gains to support a COLA for retirees in FY 2021-2022. State and local governments are still suffering from a revenue shortfall due to COVID, and while there is added hope of additional federal assistance, it is neither guaranteed, nor will it be immediate. Your pension value has been declining since 2008 and stopping this decline is of utmost importance. As the pandemic is brought under control and normal revenue streams are restored, we will continue to advocate local and state decision makers to provide COLA’s and tax relief for retirees.
We will continue working with the Treasurer’s office to keep your pension plan healthy. We are working to maintain full access to the State Health Plan and expand the services it offers you. Last but not least, we are fighting every day along with several partner organizations to expand high-speed internet access to every household in North Carolina.
We will keep all of you posted on the latest developments throughout the year through direct communication and regular government relations updates. We are fighting the good fight, and will continue. In the mean-time, stay safe and healthy.
NCRGEA Executive Director