2017 Legislative Session Priorities for AARP Impact All Ages

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What You Should Know

2017 Legislative Session Priorities for AARP Impact All Ages

By Nora Duncan, State Director, AARP CT

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan social mission organization with a membership of 612,000 in Connecticut. An organization with a membership that large and diverse must have a mission and vision to match. Our mission at AARP is to enhance the quality of life for all as we age. We champion positive social change and deliver value through advocacy, information and service. Our vision is a society in which all people live with dignity and purpose, and fulfill their goals and dreams.

This Legislative Session our mission and vision-focused agenda is diverse, but there is a common theme among our priority issues:  supporting families and protecting the pocketbook.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

In Connecticut, there are 486,000 unpaid family caregivers who provide 465,000 hours of care annually to adults with limitations. That care is valued at $5.9 million – more than our state’s total Medicaid budget.  Family caregivers are the backbone of the healthcare system, helping loved ones live at home and avoid more costly care.

The average family caregiver spends 20 percent of their income on out-of-pocket caregiving expenses.  The toll on Hispanic family caregivers is even more, averaging 44 percent of income.  Additionally, so many are forced to take time off from work without pay, directly impacting the family pocketbook.  Many are forced to leave the workplace early and this has major ramifications on long-term savings and retirement income.

No one should have to choose between the people they love and the job they need.  We have joined over 65 other organizations in support of paid family and medical leave, a policy that 83 percent of Connecticut voters support, according to our recent survey.  The program would be employee funded, meant to provide partial wage replacement and help sustain the backbone of the health care system so we can contain Medicaid spending on costly institutional care.

Essential Long Term Services & Supports

The CT Homecare Program for Elders and the Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program provide support for family caregivers and those they love, reducing costly spending on institutional care and supporting more independent living. These are essential services that AARP will fight to protect from further cuts.

Utility Customers Protections

AARP has helped shape consumer protections in the deregulated electric market and successfully fought rate hikes for years. We will continue to oppose any efforts to weaken existing regulations that protect consumers from aggressive marketing tactics and costly, misleading offers.

We will block attempts to bail-out the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, which generates electricity for Connecticut and neighboring states, through utility customer subsidies.  In recent years, pricing for electricity has fallen and consumption of natural gas has increased.  While they have failed to produce financial records in the past, officials at Dominion Power, operator of the plant, state they may need to shut down the plant because it has become unprofitable.

Implementation of the CT Retirement Security Program

AARP will fight any effort to weaken, repeal or alter the CT Retirement Security Program. The program will be implemented in 2017. It requires businesses with five or more employees not currently offering a retirement savings plans to allow workers to save through payroll deduction. This plan will help us chip away at the retirement savings crisis in the U.S.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Elaine at ewerner@aarp.org or (860) 548-3169.

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January 29, 2017

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