As anticipated, President Trump's just-unveiled fiscal year 2018 budget levies significant additional costs on current federal and postal employees, while also reducing the value of their retirement benefits. In addition, the budget suggests a number of postal reform proposals previously made by President Obama. Yesterday,the proposed budget was circulated by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The specific retirement hits that would impact UPMA members are as follows:
- Increase retirement contributions made by FERS employees by 1% in 2018 and an additional 1% for the next 5 to 6 years, in order that the employee and the employer contribution be equal. The OMB projects that this proposal would save the federal budget $72.1 billion over the next 10 years
- Eliminate the FERS COLA, and reduce the CSRS COLA by 0.5%. These COLA cuts would effect both current and future retirees. The OMB estimates that this proposal would save the federal budget $41.8 billion over the next 10 years.
- Change the formula for calculating the retirement benefits for future annuitants by basing the pension on the highest 5 years' salary, instead of the highest 3.
- Abolish the FERS retirement supplement for FERS employees who retire prior to their 62nd birthday (i.e., Social Security eligibility).
The last 2 proposals, in combination with other unspecified cuts, would yield 10-year savings of $35 billion.
The fiscal year 2018 budget also adopts a number of postal reform proposals that had been included in budgets submitted by President Obama and also included in postal reform legislation. The OMB estimates that these proposals would save the USPS $47 billion over the next 10 years.
- Permit the reduction in the frequency of mail delivery
- Allow for the relocation of delivery points to centralized and curbside venues
- Provide greater rate flexibility
- Authorize greater collaboration with state and local governments to provide services
- Use postal-specific data to calculate retirement liability
- Unspecified enhancement to postal governance
In addition, the OMB estimates that the government-wide retirement cuts would save the USPS $33 billion over the next decade.
It will be crucial that UPMA members communicate with their Representatives and Senators to oppose the punitive retirement cuts proposed in Trump Budget and explain how they would personally suffer from them if adopted.