MONTGOMERY – Signaling the beginning of the end for the state’s luxury, “Rolls Royce” benefits plan for government workers, the Alabama House of Representatives today voted to repeal the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP. The House vote gave the bill final passage in the Alabama Legislature, and it will now be transmitted to Governor Bentley for his signature.
House Speaker Mike Hubbard said repealing DROP is the right thing to do in order to build a sensible bonus structure that will allow the state to attract and retain the “best and brightest” classroom teachers and essential public employees. But a “come one, come all” luxury benefits plan like DROP was excessive, unnecessary and counter-productive to the state’s educational goals.
“We’ve discussed the issue at length and reached the simple conclusion that we need to do away with DROP and start over,” Speaker Hubbard said. “Extending DROP by even a matter of weeks could cost hundreds of classroom teachers their jobs. Laying off hundreds of teachers just to salvage a luxury benefits plan is wrong. I look forward to exploring a new way to provide incentives that encourage the highest-caliber classroom teachers and public servants to come to Alabama, and to stay here. That’s not what DROP did.”
DROP incentivizes government workers to delay retirement by allowing them to participate in a luxurious benefits plan in the latter part of their careers. According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, DROP costs taxpayers $58 million annually in additional benefits to government workers who work beyond retirement age. Participation in DROP is based only on age and duration of employment, not performance or any qualitative measure of service.
Opponents of repeal have called the proposal “an attack on teachers,” and “anti-public employee.” However, recent reports have shown that high-ranking administrators and public sector union bosses – not teachers – have benefited the most from the program. In addition, repealing DROP allows the state to avoid public sector layoffs, including those of teachers.
“We knew this Legislature would have some difficult choices to make,” Speaker Hubbard said. “We will not shy away from making these tough choices because that’s what we were sent to Montgomery to do. We must set priorities and ensure that taxpayers’ money is being spent wisely on programs that work. That’s what the people of Alabama expect of us, and that’s what they deserve.”
Polling Place Distirct 1A
WALTON PARK RECREATION CENTER - 122 WALTON PARK DRIVE
Polling Place District 1B
ANDREW BELLE COMMUNITY CENTER - 1270 LAKE STREET
Polling Place District 2A
ROY DRIGGERS BUILDING (CIVIC CENTER) - 126 N. ST. ANDREWS STREET
Polling Place District 2B
WIREGRASS RECREATION CENTER - 620 6TH AVENUE
Polling Place District 3A
HOUSTON COUNTY FARM CENTER - 1701 E. COTTONWOOD ROAD
Polling Place District 3B
NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY - 1842 3RD AVENUE
Polling Place District 4A
DOTHAN UTILITIES COMPLEX - 200 KILGORE DRIVE
Polling Place District 4B
DOUG TEW RECREATION CENTER - 300 GARLAND STREET
Polling Place District 5A
WESTGATE RECREATION CENTER - 501 RECREATION ROAD
Polling Place District 5B
WESLEY MANOR RETIREMENT CENTER - 718 HONEYSUCKLE ROAD
Polling Place District 6A
VAUGHN-BLUMBER CENTER - 2715 FLYNN ROAD
Polling Place District 6B
WIREGRASS COMMONS MALL COMMUNITY ROOM - 900 COMMONS DRIVE