Retirees Want Bigger Piece of the Pie

By: Damon Dillman
By: Damon Dillman

Rising healthcare costs are making it hard for some Virginians to enjoy their retirement. That's why they're calling for action.

A crowd of more than two dozen retirees, members of the Virginia Retirement System, filled the back room at Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant in Staunton Wednesday morning.

But they came for more than just breakfast; they were lobbying for improvements to VRS.

"We are over 400,000 strong, and we need to start speaking out," organizer Ed Bright told the crowd.

"We keep going deeper in debt financially each year. Or checks are going down, instead of going up," he said after the meeting. "It's so big (a problem) that I'm hearing people currently working saying they cannot afford to retire, because of the outrageous healthcare cost."

Bright proposes three changes to VRS. He says the healthcare credit should be raised from $4 for each year of service, to at least $6.

He also suggests all VRS members should receive the same health credit, and all localities should be given the chance to join VRS.

Del. Chris Saxman (R-21) was among those in the audience. He says Bright's suggestions are good ones.

"It's a positive step forward, when you start addressing the situation, and coming up with positive solutions," Saxman said.

Another Valley delegate, Steve Landes (R-25), is on a 10-member joint sub-committee studying the current VRS structure.

He was unable to attend Wednesday's meeting, but sent a letter voicing his concern for the issue.


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