Presidential Candidate Questionnaire

9. In 2007, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) proposed a new rule requiring pension plans to have a “normal retirement age’ which is an age “not earlier than the earliest age that is reasonably representative of the typical retirement age for the industry in which the covered workforce is employed.” For plans in which “substantially all” of the participants are public safety officers, the new “normal retirement age” would be 50. This is at odds with the standard practice of defined benefit plans used by State and local governments, which typically define their normal retirement age or normal retirement date as the date or age when participants qualify for normal or unreduced retirement benefits under the plan. Such qualification is often conditioned, in whole or in part, on the completion of a stated number of years of service. Pension plans are designed for public safety employees, who must maintain physical vigor to accomplish their public safety missions, and, for this reason, often begin these careers at an earlier age than other public employees and retire at an earlier age. Typical public safety plans are tied to years of service, usually ranging from 20 to 25 years, not to the arbitrary 50 years of age described in the regulation. The Federal government has never prohibited the use of years of service practice for governmental pension plans. In fact, the IRS routinely approved service-based normal retirement ages through the determination letter process. The implementation of this rule has been delayed by the IRS several times already had without another delay, a change in the rule, or legislative action, it will go into effect on 1 January 2013. There is little doubt that its implementation would have an immediate and very negative impact on many individuals as well as pension plans, many of which are governed by State statutes or State Constitutions and others which could be part of an existing labor contract. Plans may be forced into a position of choosing to violate a State Constitution, a State law, an existing contract, or an IRS regulation. Congress has introduced legislation, H.R. 3561, the “Small Business Pension Promotion Act,” which would make clear that existing plans which use “years of service” to establish a normal retirement date will be able to continue this practice without penalty and without jeopardizing the retirement plans and benefits of so many of our nation’s law enforcement and other public safety officers. If elected, would you support this legislation or take other steps in your Administration to repeal this regulation?

Obama: After spending their careers in the service of their communities, police and other public safety employees should be able to rely on a secure retirement. In response to the rule in question, under my Administration, the Treasury Department and the IRS have taken steps to ensure that it does not have an adverse impact on public safety employees, reflected in proposed guidance issued in April that would modify the 2007 regulations.

As part of this guidance, Treasury and IRS also extended the effective date for governmental plans to comply with the rule to January 1, 2015 (after earlier extending it in 2009 to 2013), providing additional time to consider and respond to comments on the rule. Moreover, as an illustration of its commitment to ensuring this rule is appropriately applied to public safety employees, Treasury and IRS specifically asked for comments regarding “whether, because qualified public safety employees generally tend to have career spans that commence at a young age and continue over a limited period of years, an additional rule should be provided under which retirement after 20 to 30 years of service may be a normal retirement that is reasonably representative for qualified public safety employees.”

Romney: I have not studied this question carefully enough to offer a full answer at this time. I understand why some pension plans — particularly those for professions like law enforcement where careers begin at a young age and are physically demanding — would prefer a years-of-service standard. But I also understand why the IRS would seek to establish a clear, age-based threshold that ensures pension plans are not being used to provide compensation to people who do not need to retire. I would welcome the opportunity to hear more from organizations like the Fraternal Order of Police about how such a policy would affect their members, and would also want to discuss with tax experts the reason for the proposed rule.

10. The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest labor organization representing this country’s law enforcement professionals and, as such, we have been involved with the Administration on a wide range of labor issues, including serving as a member of the Labor Advisory Council for Trade Negotiations and Trade Policy. We were also involved in an effort to evaluate a law enforcement training program in Iraq. As President, how will you involve and consult with our leadership relating to labor issues?

Obama: Over the past four years, we made tough choices together. In particular, the Fraternal Order of Police’s assistance has made a number of trade and international law enforcement issues a success. FOP and law enforcement will have a seat at any table at which I sit. Whether we agree on a particular issue or not, FOP will always be heard out.

Romney: One of the greatest strengths of a union like the Fraternal Order of Police is its ability to provide strong representation for the interests of its members on law enforcement and public safety issues where those members have unparalleled expertise and face most directly the consequences of public policy. My administration will be one that seeks the input of all relevant stakeholders and perspectives before making important policy decisions, and that will include the active involvement of the Fraternal Order of Police on law enforcement matters. I will also look to the Order to provide leadership within the law enforcement community in promoting best practices and supporting law enforcement officials throughout their careers.

12 thoughts on “Presidential Candidate Questionnaire

Dear Brothers and Siters. We serve the risen Lord. Every decision we make in Law Enforcement is guided or should be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit. When you decide who to vote for, don’t consider wordly things, but consider what is in the bible. Which one of these candidates line up with your Christian views. Who is for for the unborn? I know most Police Officers would prosecute anyone who injures a fetus or kills a little baby. Who supports the rights of a man and woman to marry and concieve children in a natural God given way? What happens to many of the children of blended families, fatherless homes, domestic disputes? As our brother David pointed out, Mr. Obama said the Police Officers “acted stupidly” when they confronted an unidentified tresspasser until proven otherwise. Mr. Obama condemed the latino in Florida who shot a young black male before an investigation was complete. Where is the support for the police officers killed in the line of duty by the thugs and criminals in America? Do any of you know of Mr. Obama coming to the aid of a stricken Law Enforcement family like he did for the above cases I cited along with that college female who needs $3,000 / mth for healthcare so she can have uninterrupted sex while in college?? How about refusing to fight for the christian values? What about not agreeing to meet with the Israel President but appearing on the View and Late SHow? The battle in America is the same on your beat!! It is a battle between “GOOD” and evil. You have the wisdom and power to make a difference! Pray and discern the spirit. God Bless You All!

PrezBO is most assuredly a marxist and socialist. Government dependency for total life sustainability is not the answer, nor any substitute to individual accountability and responsibility. The National FOP lodge needs to be more transparent and informed about labor unions issues by state, rather than lumping altogether issues that don’t necessarily apply in all cases. At least Romney has a proven track record or creating jobs and troubleshooting issues that resulted in success rather than failure. What has the “community organizer” ever done in that regard? Four more years of Obama will further plunder this country into complete financial ruin and ultimately destroy whatever protections we currently have!

I agree with Gary’s assement. I graded the answers as 7 for Obama and 24 for Romney. As Gary stated Obama had some wins early on but failed miserably overall.

I do not understand how one can not take him as a socialist/Marxist whichever term you use but the 2008 election proved millions didn’t see it even though his book and his “we will fundamentally change America” he clearly said so.

Let’s just hope he fails in his bid to get a 2nd term that we can not afford.

As a military veteran and retired Police officer I’ve spent most of my life to serve & protect this country and its people. Your labeling of our President as a Marxist only exhibits your lack of knowledge concerning political views throughout the world. Our Presidend is as Democratic as any other in his views of fairness for the people. Obama 2012.

David is wise to doubt that Obama either likes LE or the FOP, just as he has nothing but contempt for the military. He will say or do anything for votes. I have never seen anyone who can lie so constantly. Don’t be fooled by him, Lorin. And yes – as Joe implies, he is a Marxist.

First, I do respect everyone’s individual opinion. I just wish I could understand how anyone can still believe Obama is in any way good for this great country of ours, much less the law enforcement! Think back at how he has been the first to jump out and publicly question law enforcements actions – such as the arrest of his law professor friend. It is obvious to me that he does not care for or respect law enforcement.
Let’s face it – all of Obama’s records are “sealed” and therefore, we know nothing about him other than the fact that he has more than doubled the nations debt in just three years and that he has done nothing that he said he would do. I am truly worried that if he is re-elected for another term our great country will suffer irreparible damage. He is a great speaker, but look what he has done and/or not done – not what he says! He is one of the best liars I have seen.

I just don’t believe our president genuinely likes Law Enforcement and/or the FOP. If he gets our support, I believe he would simply use this organization strictly as a political tool in his chest, and we would not realize any benefit or support. The FOP and LE overall may not get everything we would like to see take place under Romney, (and he does have his problems), but that would be better than being used or worse. I just cannot vote for or support Obama/Biden.

Mr. Obama has the slick answers, but Mr. Romney has in my opinion even when saying something I disagree with, the most honest answers. Mr. Obama is much more political, saying what we want to hear. Mr. Romney says what he believes.

Your mind is made up and there is no changing it. President Obama will continue to enhance the rights and grouth of the middle class whereas Mr Romney will continue his approach of establishing two classes; the very rich and the very poor. I don’t know many Police officers who are not considered middle class and I can’t believe Romney is going to make them rich. Obama is my choice to protect the rights of the people..

And it appears that your mind is made up as well. I recall being in class when a classmate got upset about comments made about the current president. She stated that she was a staunch member of the President’s political party. I told her that people who set their mind to vote for a label, and do not look at all the options scare me. The same applies here. No matter what happens or is discovered, You will only consider OBama

Excellent set of questions posted by the FOP to the candidates. Obama was able to align more closely with the FOP on a few of the labor related issues at the beginning, but otherwise his answers were largely political fluff. It seemed to me that Romney clearly understood, respected and sympathized more with the general law enforcement perspective and also his views on many of these issues more closely reflect the views shared by most Americans. I was impressed by the candid and pragmatic, yet thoughtful answers he provided.

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