Dear MEA Members –

I wanted to give you all an immediate update on some very troubling events happening in the State House that need your immediate attention. 

On Friday night the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee met through the night, completing their work, and voting on the supplemental budget proposal at 4am.  The budget proposal they are moving forward is disappointing. In fact, we have many concerns about this proposal, and we need your help to stop it. 

First, the proposed budget approved by the Democrats on the Appropriations Committee raises taxes on retired teachers!  You read that right!  Let me explain. 

Under current law for tax year 2024, $45,860 of pension earnings is exempt from the state income tax.  But the Democrats on the Appropriations Committee voted to push the exemption down to $35,000.  Any teacher (or any retiree) with pension earnings of more than $35,000 can expect to pay more in state income taxes if this proposal is passed into law.  This is just plain wrong. 

What is more, while they are proposing to raise taxes on retired teachers and other public servants, they are not using the funds to support retirees or educators.  Instead, these funds are going into the state “general fund” and are being used to pay for other priorities of legislators. 

The budget proposal from the Democrats in Appropriations also does nothing to address the shortages we are seeing in public schools.  For two years, MEA has advocated for minimum wage increases for school support staff and salary increases for teachers.  Both bills have been unanimously approved by the Education Committee and received strong bipartisan support from legislators.  Despite the shortages and our constant pleas, the budget does not address these shortages. 

But rest assured, we are not done yet.  But we need your help. 

  1.  Email your legislators – Tell them clearly not to raise taxes on retired teachers and tell them we need them to address the wages of ed techs and support staff and the salaries of teachers.  LD 974 proposes to lift wages for ed techs and all support staff. LD 1064 proposes an increase in teacher salaries.  We need both in the budget, and we need the tax hikes on retired teachers out of the budget.  You can email your legislators here.
  2. MEA Day in State House – The MEA is hosting an opportunity for MEA members to come to the State House to speak directly with legislators about these issues on Tuesday April 16th.  Please consider joining other MEA members for a few hours in the State House as we ask legislators to REJECT tax increases on retired teachers and find a way to support legislation to lift educator pay.  You can sign up to join us here: MEA Lobby Day – April 16th

I wish we had better news to share.  It is easy to be discouraged these days, but we will not give up.  For our professions, and our schools and our students, now more than ever we need to speak up to make sure legislators hear us. 

Please do not wait.  Email your legislators right away and please consider joining us for MEA Day in the State House.

As always, please reach out with any questions and we will do our best to help. 

In Unity,

Grace Leavitt
MEA President