CHARLESTON, W.Va.¬†—¬†They try every year, but it’s always a struggle for the Coalition of Retired Public Employees. Despite recent challenges in getting any help at the legislature, the organization will again sponsor the annual legislative breakfast on Tuesday in the Capitol Cafeteria beginning at 8 o’clock.

This year, the organization has two things it hopes lawmakers will address. President Spud Terry said number one is a tax exemption.

“Our retired teachers and public employees are the only groups that don’t get a full state tax exemption on their retirement,” said Terry. “Other groups like state police, deputies, firemen, and retired military pay not tax on their retirement.”

It’s a small thing, but according to Terry would be a large benefit to his members. So would a measure that would shore up PEIA.

“We’re proposing one half of a percent tax on the Marcellus Shale gas,” said Terry.

Chances are unlikely it will happen, but Terry believes it would at least stem the rising cost of insurance to members on fixed income. State retirees may be the most fixed of any. Terry noted they’ve never had cost of living adjustment. In fact, for Terry, he’s still living like it’s 1999.

“I can tell you for a fact I retired in 1999 and I’m on the same nickel I was when I retired in 1999,” Terry said.

The coalition includes the West Virginia Association of Retired School Employees, West Virginia Public Retirement System Association and West Virginia chapters of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees; Communication Workers of America; National Active & Retired Federal Employees; American Federation of Teachers, and National Education Association.

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