On May 18th, Joe Kiskis, CUCFA VP of External Relations, sent the following letter to members of both the Senate and Assembly Budget Subcommittees on Education:
The Council of UC Faculty Associations asks that the Legislature rescind Section 92612.5 of the Education Code and restore the $20 million General Fund augmentation for UCRP that the Governor originally proposed.
Along with other employees, University of California faculty have long understood the value of the UC benefits program in general and the retirement plan in particular in partially compensating for relatively uncompetitive UC salaries. For several years UC faculty, through the Academic Senate, have recognized the need to restart contributions to the University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) and have supported a restart. For various reasons, the decision to do so has been delayed. During that time, a contribution restart has evolved from prudent and advisable to critical. The modest amount of $20M for 2009-2010 is far below what is needed to re-build the long term health of the retirement plan. Nevertheless it would reaffirm the principle that both the State and University employees share in the responsibility for a healthy, fully-funded system.
Further delay of a restart with a State contribution will cause the funding level of the retirement plan to rapidly deteriorate. It is projected that in just a few years, even with contributions at the proposed very modest level, the retirement plan will fall to 60% funded. The alternatives to a healthy retirement plan in meeting the legal obligations to plan participants would threaten the core missions of the University and further exacerbate the State’s serious financial problems. As difficult as the present situation may be, reinstatement of the very modest amount of $20M for 2009-2010 will initiate a process that will avoid far greater difficulties in a few years.
We close by noting that UC benefits including UCRP are an important factor in both recruitment and retention of faculty and thus in building and maintaining the quality of the University.
CUCFA Vice President for External Relations,
and Professor of Physics, UC Davis