A tax/pension law change that would mostly benefit union bosses was among the goodies removed Nov. 17 from a federal tax bill. Union bosses had wanted in an obscure pension law known as “Section 415″ that critics said could enable highly paid union bosses to sharply increase their pensions. The measure, originally part of the $792 billion tax bill vetoed by Bill Clinton, would have benefited union pensioners by eliminating a requirement that benefits be based the three highest consecutive years of earnings. That could help union members, but another part of the proposal would eliminate an annual pension cap of about $60,000 for those who retire before age 65, enabling them to get yearly pensions of well over $100,000. Most members in that income category are senior union officials.
“There are not a lot of people earning that much money,” said Peter Orszag, an economics professor at the Univ. of Cal. at Berkeley. “It could easily be interpreted as mainly helping them, [the union bosses].” [AP 11/18/99]