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May - June 2018

Retirees’ Newsletter

What’s Inside President’s Report PEOPLE’S CONFERENCE & ENDORSEMENTS page 2 A Tribute to Michael Schaffer FAREWELL TO OUR PAST PRESIDENT OF RETIREES page 2 Memphis 50 YEARS AGO, A DEFINING MOMENT FOR OUR UNION page 3

Published bi-monthly by AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36

People Conference CHAPTER 36 DELEGATES REPORT BACK page 4 LACERA Board of Investment Report GAINS, CHALLENGES, NEW DIRECTIONS page 5 Sometimes...Even the Retired are Called SATIRE

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2018 Tax Changes EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW page 6


May - June 2018

AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter

In Memoriam

EXECUTIVE B OA R D Judy Katz PRESIDENT

Jeanetta Adams

MICHAEL SCHAFFER

VICE PRESIDENT

Gwen Jones

Past President of Retirees

RECORDING SECRETARY

Harriet Newton

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY

Fred Massey TREASURER

Retiree Chapter 36 Past President, Michael Schaffer, died on Feb. 1st at his vacation home just outside of Santa Fe, NM. He worked as a Deputy Probation Officer and was an active member of Local 685 until he retired.

as President of our Chapter for multiple terms and then became the Newsletter Editor until his frequent trips to Santa Fe began to interfere with those duties. Michael was 76 and with his wife Diane when he died. He leaves his wife and two adult children.

MEMBERS AT L A R G E

He was a life-long union and social justice activist. Michael served

Joan Hernandez Gwendolyn Jones Hosneya Khattab Michelle Krug Fred Massey Lenny Potash Carole Prescott Anthony Vann Myra Vines Carol Wheeler

THE PRESIDENT’S REPORT Judy Katz On March 10, 2018, the California AFSCME PEOPLE endorsement process officially kicked off with a Political Endorsement Discussion. Many of the candidates we invited appeared, gave brief statements, and then answered questions from attendees. We did not speak with the major candidates for Governor

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at this time, as they had been invited to earlier, individual “Meet and Greet” events. On March 17th, we took the next step in the endorsement process, as the California PEOPLE Executive Board met in Sacramento. We discussed all the candidates and made recommendations for all the offices that would be on the California Primary Ballot on June 5th. Continued on p. 4


May - June 2018

AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter

What began on Feb. 12, 1968 as an historic fight for worker dignity and fairness ended shortly after April 4th with the murder of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

50 YEARS AGO IN

MEMPHIS

Leonard Potash, Contributor

The city was thoroughly racist. The Mayor was hostile to unions and to the mostly black Sanitation workers of AFSCME Local 1733. The festering, poor and unsafe working conditions crossed a line when two sanitation workers taking cover from a brutal downpour were accidentally crushed to death in the truck’s compactor. The strike began. Nearly a thousand Sanitation Workers marched single-file, wearing sandwich board signs proclaiming “I AM A MAN.” The garbage began to pile up, and Mayor Loeb brought in strikebreakers. Police harassed, assaulted and arrested strikers and supporters while the union, local clergy, and community leaders began to mobilize their allies to march in solidarity.

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A conference titled, I AM 2018: 50th Anniversary of the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike was held in early April. Jeanetta Adams (left), Retiree Chapter 36 Vice President was sent by our Chapter to take part. Pictured at right with Jeanetta in Mason Temple: Nadine Peyrucain, President of AFSCME Retirees Chapter 57.

Before the strike was over, there were mass arrests, beatings, numerous injuries, and one assassination. Dr. King accepted multiple invitations to visit Memphis to show support for the strikers and to demonstrate the link between civil rights and economic justice. On April 3rd, Dr. King spoke for the last time. He lifted the spirits of the massive rally of strikers and supporters alike with his “I’ve been to the mountain...” speech.

The next morning, standing outside of his motel room just a few blocks from the Temple and conversing with Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) leaders, Dr. King was shot dead. On April 8th, over 40,000 people silently marched through Memphis to commemorate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a week later an historic agreement between the City of Memphis and the union was ratified. The Sanitation Workers won important steps toward equality and dignity.


AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter

May - June 2018

President’s Report (cont.)

REPORTS FROM THE PEOPLE CONFERENCE

Then, on the morning of March 19th, the delegates discussed and voted on endorsement recommendations. The following endorsements were made for the 2018 Primary Elections for California Statewide Constitutional Offices: Lieutenant Governor – Dr. Ed Hernandez (D) State Treasurer – Fiona Ma (D) Insurance Commissioner – Ricardo Lara (D)

Carole Prescott E-Board Member at Large

As you all know I’m truly an advocate of ending gun violence & I felt this would have been a perfect time to introduce a resolution on that. No resolutions were put forth by Locals - the first time I’ve seen this. Let’s use this missed opportunity as a reminder of future opportunities to raise our collective voice on crucial issues.

“We can’t just sit around talking about how terrible this administration is, we have to take action.”

Gwendolyn Jones Member

The number one takeaway: we can’t just sit around talking about how terrible this administration is, we have to take action. I was also happy to reconnect with Brothers and Sisters that I hadn’t seen since retirement, & hope that future conferences will focus a little more on us Retirees.

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The following were endorsed early by the AFSCME California PEOPLE Executive Steering Committee: Attorney General – Xavier Bacerra (D) Incumbent State Controller – Betty Yee (D) Incumbent Secretary of State – Alex Padilla (D) Incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tony Thurmond (D) The Governor Endorsement was open. AFSMCE Council 36 has endorsed John Chang (D). AFSMCE Council 57 and Chapter 57 Retirees have endorsed Gavin Newsom (D). In addition to the endorsements, many other important topics and amazing speakers comprised the 2018 California PEOPLE Convention. It was an inspiring event! Please enjoy the other reports from our Chapter’s delegates that appear in this newsletter.


AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter

LACERA Board of Investment January and February 2018 Fred Massey LACERA Monitor

Here are some highlights from the March 5, 2018 meeting.

BOI, includes oil and gas assets, commodities, farm land and forestry, infrastructure, and solar energy - assets that are typically privately-held & have good income streams. The BOI Board agreed with the staff recommendation to invest $50 Billion in an LLC focused on distressed real estate in Western Europe, anticipating a total return of 14 - 15%.

A good year $56.5 Billion: value of current assets. 2.2%: January asset growth. $6.9 billion: net gain in prior 12 months. $1.2 billion: cash and short-term investments at end of January (about 2.1% of its total assets).

Sometimes . . . Even the Retired are Called Lenny Potash Contributor

Concerns Market downturns - the market has taken recent hits, and staff and the Board are gearing up for more hits. Brexit & Trump Administration monetary policy (though investors’ level of concern varies, with some showing little concern).

Challenges Low interest rates on savings accounts, T-bills, 10 year U.S.Treasury bonds.

New Directions “Real Assets,” a new category for

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By the time we finally retired, many of us were ready. And after several weeks or a few months, we were glad. On occasion, some of us have been tempted to come out of retirement to take on some interesting challenge or to bring in a few extra dollars. Some of us grapple every day with a pull to get involved. We’re told, “you have so much experience and wisdom, you could make an important contribution”. Often we respond by saying, “But I’ve already contributed. I’ve been giving in one way or another most of my life. Now it’s time for younger folks to step up.”

May - June 2018

But as I’ve often said, “I retired from a job, not from life.” Maybe there are reasons that are worth coming out of retirement for, even if only for a little while. We might be able to make a real difference. We might be particularly adept at something. Maybe someone made us an offer we found hard to refuse. Maybe that someone was especially important and persuasive. Might you be willing to leave your comfortable retirement to do some real good? YOU might be one of those especially adept folks. Are you a vet? Do you like hunting? I’m sure you’d like to protect the children. This is your opportunity. You can free up valuable teaching time for an overworked educator. You can demonstrate that seniors are powerful. This is your moment of truth. We’ve seen it a thousand times in our favorite Westerns. Would you be willing to strap them on again? You can be the pistol-packing grandma or grandpa in the classroom that assures the safety of students. Just apply by sending a letter expressing your interest to: President Donald J. Trump, White House, Washington D.C. He’ll be glad to hear from you.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS Deadline for inclusion in July-August issue: June 2, 2018


May - June 2018

AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter

of the standard deduction is being sold to the public as a tax cut, the reality is that it’s more of a simplification.

GUIDE TO THE 2018 TAX CHANGES: WHAT AFSCME RETIREES NEED TO KNOW The “Tax Reform” law President Trump recently signed represents the most significant tax changes to the U.S. tax code for both individuals and corporations in more than 30 years. With that in mind, we’ve prepared a guide to the major changes that will go into effect.

The 2018 tax brackets In President Trump’s campaign tax plan, he proposed reducing the number of tax brackets MARGINAL TAX RATE

from seven to three. The House of Representatives’ original bill bumped that up to four, and the final version maintains the seven-bracket structure but with (mostly) lower tax rates. See the chart on this page for the new tax brackets.

Standard deduction and personal exemption While the law’s roughly doubling

SINGLE

MARRIED FILING JOINTLY

For example, a single filer would have been entitled to a $6,500 standard deduction and a $4,150 personal exemption in 2018, for a total of $10,650 in income exclusions. Under the new tax plan, they would get a $12,000 simplified standard deduction. So while it would be accurate in this case to say this this taxpayer’s total liability is reduced somewhat, the doubled deduction is mostly offset by the 100% slashing of the personal exemption. Having said that, on the right is a chart comparing the standard deductions of the new and old tax laws.

HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD

MARRIED FILING SEPARATELY

2018 TAX BRACKETS

10%

$0-$9,525

$0-$19,050

$0-$13,600

$0-$9,525

12%

$9,525-$38,700

$19,050-$77,400

$13,600-$51,800

$9,525-$38,700

22%

$38,700-$82,500

$77,400-$165,000

$51,800-$82,500

$38,700-$82,500

24%

$82,500-$157,500

$165,000-$315,000

$82,500-$157,000

$82,500-$157,000

32%

$157,500-$200,000

$315,000-$400,000

$157,500-$200,000

$157,500-200,000

35%

$200,000-$500,000

$400,000-$600,000

$200,000-$500,000

$200,000-300,000

37%

Over $500,000

Over $600,000

Over $500,000

Over $300,000

Source: Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference

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In fact, it comes with a steep price: the valuable Personal Exemption has been eliminated.


May - June 2018

AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter

DEDUCTION COMPARISON

TAX FILING STATUS

PREVIOUS STANDARD DEDUCTION (SET TO TAKE EFFECT IN 2018)

NEW STANDARD DEDUCTION

Single

$6,500

$12,000

Married Filing Jointly

$13,000

$24,000

Married Filing Separately

$6,500

$12,000

Head of Household

$9,350

$18,000

Source: IRS and Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and medical expenses These reductions, though they remain, have been tweaked. First, the mortgage interest deduction can only be taken on mortgage debt of up to $750,000, down from $1 million. This only applies to mortgages taken after December 15, 2017. Pre-existing mortgages are grandfathered in. And the interest on home equity debt can no longer be deducted at all, whereas up to $100,000 in home equity debt could be considered previously. Next, the charitable contribution deduction is almost the same, but with two notable changes. One change: taxpayers can deduct donations of as much as 60% of their income, up from a 50% cap. Another change: donations to a college in exchange for the right to purchase athletic tickets will no longer be deductible.

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Finally, the threshold for the medical expenses deduction has been reduced from 10% of AGI to 7.5% of AGI. In other words, if your adjusted gross income is $50,000, you can now deduct any unreimbursed medical expenses over $3,750, not $5,000 as set by prior tax law. Unlike most other provisions in the bill, this is retroactive to the 2017 tax year.

The SALT deduction Perhaps the most controversial change to individuals’ taxes was the fate of the SALT (state and local taxes) deduction. Early versions of the bill proposed eliminating it, but some key Republicans in high-tax states rebelled. The enacted version keeps the deduction, but limits the total deductible amount to $10,000, including income, sales, and property taxes.

Disappearing deductions While many deductions survived, several didn’t. in addition to those mentioned above, gone for the 2018 tax year are deductions for: ÊÊ Casualty and theft losses (except those attributable to a federally-declared disaster) ÊÊ Unreimbursed employee expenses ÊÊ Tax preparation expenses ÊÊ Other miscellaneous deductions previously subject to the 2% AGI cap ÊÊ Moving expenses ÊÊ Employer-subsidized parking and transportation reimbursement

Individuals: enjoy those temporary breaks while you can It’s important to point out that most of the changes to individual taxes made by the bill are temporary, and are set to expire after the 2025 tax year.

When all of this goes into effect, and when you’ll notice the changes To be clear, unless I’ve noted otherwise, the changes made by the tax reform bill go into effect for the 2018 tax year, which means you’ll first notice them on your tax return that you file in 2019.


AFSCME Retirees Chapter 36 514 Shatto Place, 3rd Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90020 Return to sender requested if not delivered Keeping You Informed AFSCME Chapter 36 would like to keep you informed about breaking news that matters to you! Send us your email address to be added to our list at: retired@afscme36.org

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING    

Why is homelessness increasing? Who are the homeless? What are the underlying causes of homelessness? Where do we look for the solutions?

PRESENTATION & DISCUSSION ON HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS – EVERYWHERE Akili

DIRECTOR, THE FANNIE LOU HAMER INSTITUTE

Damien Goodmon

DIRECTOR, HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT

Photo: Flickr user pdjohnson

ALSO: Review of issues on June 5th primary ballot.  Immanuel Presbyterian Church  3300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles  Enter Church on Berendo Ave. just South of Wilshire Blvd.  Parking just South of entry.  Lunch provided.  Please help us plan.  RSVP to (213)252-1318

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 10:15a.m.

AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter, May-June 2018  

Custom black-and-white design; layout; copy editing; project management.

AFSCME Retiree Chapter 36 Newsletter, May-June 2018  

Custom black-and-white design; layout; copy editing; project management.

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