Important Messages For New Jersey Senator and Representatives 3/21/06
From: Bill Kadereit, NRLN Vice President – Legislative Affairs
A March 19, 2006 New York Times article on pension reform legislation pending in Congress has reported that a lobbyist for Prudential was able to persuade several senators, including Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat from New Jersey (where Prudential has its headquarters), that the companies which are more than 15 percent overfunded should be allowed to remove some of the surplus and use the money to buy health insurance for its retirees. Currently, only companies which are 25 percent overfunded are allowed to do so.
The NRLN believes that this Section 420 transfer amendment in the legislation before a House and Senate conference committee is not in the best interest for the future security of your pension. If the amendment is part of the pension reform bill that is passed into law, it will modify Section 420 of the Internal Revenue Code to lower the transfer threshold of a pension plan surplus from 125% to 115%.
Paying for health care, providing a longer maintenance of health care cost period, and promises to restore funding levels to 115% will do little good if the employer’s deteriorating financial situation impairs its ability to fully fund their pension plans. This is likely to result in more pension plan terminations or freezes.
I am urging NRLN members in New Jersey to write and call Senator Lautenberg to take him to task for supporting the special corporate interests over what is in the best interests of workers and retirees. Also, for the New Jersey residents who are in the Congressional districts represented by Congressman Robert E. Andrews and Congressman Donald M. Payne, I urge you to write and call them because they are members of the Pension Reform Conference Committee. As conferees they are in a position to take action to prevent the lowering of the transfer threshold.
I think you will agree with me if you will take the time to go to the NRLN website at http://capwiz.com/abtr/home and read the sample letters. The letter for all New Jersey residents to send to Senator Lautenberg is linked to the headline: ONLY FOR NEW JERSEY RESIDENTS: TELL SENATOR LAUTENBERG DON’T PLACE CORPORATE INTERESTS AHEAD OF PENSION SECURITY.
The letter for constituents of Reps. Andrews and Payne are linked to the headline: NEW JERSEY CONSTITUENTS OF REPRESENTATIVES ANDREWS & PAYNE SAY PROTECT OUR PENSION PLANS FROM CORPORATE ABUSE.
After sending the letter, I hope you will call one of the New Jersey offices for Senator Lautenberg and Representatives Andrews and Payne to verbally express the concerns stated in the letters and request that they prevent making it easier for corporations to raid your pension plan. You can obtain the phone number for in-state offices by going to the NRLN Website at http://www.nrln.org and type your zip code in the “Write To Congress” box near the top of the page on the right. After you click “GO” the names and photos of your Senators and Representative will appear. Click on the “info” link under each photo to obtain office contact information.
Please forward this message to your friends in New Jersey who may not be familiar with this important pension legislation issue and urge them to contact Senator Lautenberg and Representatives Andrews and Payne, if they live in their districts.
Thank you for your time and efforts on this matter.
Bill Kadereit, NRLN
Vice President – Legislative Affairs