Organizational Mission Statement
The Coalition to Preserve Retirement Security (CPRS) shall be composed of individuals and organizations having an interest in maintaining a Social Security system which does not impose mandatory participation on state and local governmental units and their employees.
The Coalition shall further be composed of individuals and organizations with an interest in issues that have been identified and approved by the Board of Directors as impacting the retirement security of state and local government employees and their employers.
The CPRS shall identify those issues delineated in the above sections, communicate with all members through various means the ramifications of the identified issues, mobilize and activate members and non-members to generate support or opposition to the identified issues and to communicate through any means available to the Congress of the United States or any branch of the administration the position of the coalition on the identified issues.
Why CPRS Opposes Mandatory Social Security
Coverage for Public Employees
Many proposals to put Social Security on a sound financial basis include a requirement that school, state and local government employees hired after a specified date be covered under Social Security. The reasons Social Security should not be required for states, school districts, and their employees are:
Social Security certainly needs to be changed to ensure that current and future beneficiaries receive the benefits to which they are entitled. It is only fair, however, that the necessary changes be accomplished by those who have been part of the system. Congress should consider some features of successful public retirement plans as it looks at reforming Social Security.
- Requiring public employees to be covered by Social Security would increase payroll taxes. This would mean less money to spend on salaries, equipment and supplies, maintenance and other needs in school districts. The need for increased taxes or reduced services by other public employees may also be a result. Likewise, hopes for improving retirement benefits for current and retired public employees probably could not be realized.
- Social Security needs a long-term solution, not a quick fix. The absence of mandatory coverage has not caused Social Security's financial problems. Federal employees hired after 1983 were forced into Social Security, but that has not solved the long-term problem. Coverage of new state, school and local workers would increase revenues to the Social Security fund for several years but those workers would eventually start drawing benefits of their own that would have to be financed.
- The federal government has confirmed that coverage outside Social Security is appropriate. A 1990 federal law requiring that all state, school and local workers be covered under a public plan comparable to Social Security or Social Security itself confirmed that coverage under Social Security should not be the only option for these workers.
- School, state and local employee retirement benefits provide solid, secure retirement benefits. These plans have been actuarially funded and invest in stocks, bonds and other investments that provide a high return. These retirement plans provide good benefits at a reasonable cost to public employees and employers.
- School, state and local government employees don't believe they need Social Security coverage. These employee groups have been outside Social Security and have not contributed to Social Security's problems. Public employees as groups can opt into Social Security if they want. Most public employees have good survivor, disability and other coverage through their own state and local plans.
- School, state and local government employees are not receiving any unfair benefits from Social Security. Public employees in non-Social Security states do not receive a free ride. Some of them do receive Social Security benefits from other employment that was covered by Social Security, but those benefits are reduced because of their non-Social Security employment. Also, private employees and public employees pay income taxes to help fund the cost of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for the indigent, elderly and disabled.
- Pension portability for these public employees has improved. Most public plans have provisions for purchase of out-of-state service credits. Employees who leave school, state or local government can roll over their account to an IRA or other tax-deferred retirement plan.
- Unconstitutionality. A mandate from the federal government that states and school districts cover their workers under Social Security probably would violate the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If necessary, employees and retirement systems will ask the courts to rule mandatory Social Security unconstitutional.
Fourteen states cover substantial numbers of their public employees under independent plans which would be jeopardized by mandatory Social Security: Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, California, Ohio, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Connecticut, Maine and Alaska. From 20 percent to 100 percent of the public employees in each of these states are not covered by Social Security. Firefighters and police officers in nearly every state are covered by independent plans rather than Social Security. Nationwide, about 6.6 million public employees are covered by state or local plans in lieu of Social Security.
Opponents of mandatory Social Security for school districts and state and local governments include the National Education Association, the National School Boards Association, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Police Officers, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the American Legislative Exchange Council and other employee and employer groups.
Let your congressional delegation know that you oppose mandatory Social Security. Ask your representative and senators to work to keep mandatory Social Security out of any legislation that would address the long-term problems of Social Security.