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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Senate Republicans vote to kill DROP program

Democrats in the Alabama Senate attempted to delay a vote on the bill that would kill a retirement program the state started to keep quality longtime employees, especially teachers, from retiring or leaving for other states, but Republicans quickly shut down debate.
On Tuesday, Republicans approved the bill repealing the DROP program or Deferred Retirement Option Program on a 23-12 vote.
The DROP program allows state and education employees who are 55 years old and have 25 years of service to receive salary and retirement benefits while continuing to work.
The bill now goes to the Alabama House of Representatives for consideration.
Democrats in the Senate had also pushed for an amendment that would allow people to continue to enroll until the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30, instead of ending enrollment April 1, but that died 19-16.
Senate Minority Leader Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, said some people have "been counting" on the program for years.
Republicans argued the "luxury" retirement plan was too costly during these tough financial times, an argument that Democrats object to. Bedford said the state would save from not having to pay benefits for the DROP enrollee and a new hire.

-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen

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