Byrne: Killing DROP not ‘anti-teacher’

Published 11:00 am Monday, March 14, 2011

A move by the Alabama Legislature to end a state retirement program is not “anti-teacher,” former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne said Thursday.

“In a filibuster that ended (Thursday), the Alabama DROP Program was killed,” Byrne told members of the Escambia County Young Republicans. “This action will save $60 million a year for the Alabama taxpayers. This move isn’t anti-teacher, but pro-student and pro-taxpayers of this state.”

The DROP program allowed teachers and public employees to continue working past retirement age and draw retirement benefits. Democrats, now in the legislative minority, had attempted to filibuster the bill, which was supported by Gov. Robert Bentley.

Byrne compared the political turnover in Alabama to that in Wisconsin, where legislators are involved in a fight over union rights for teachers. Wisconsin legislators this week voted to end collective bargaining rights for teachers, working around the absence of Democrats who fled the state to avoid the vote.

“The two states with the greatest turnover in the legislature is Wisconsin and Alabama,” Byrne said. “The biggest flip in numbers in the legislature was Alabama.”

Byrne, who is an active member of Reform Alabama, said the focus of the Republican Party should now be on county government seats.