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Friday, March 18, 2016

GL of Kansas and Per Capita Increases



The annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Kansas AF&AM meets this Saturday, and the leadership is presenting a bitter pill to their members. They are proposing the annual per capita paid to operate the Grand Lodge be raised from the current $24 a year, to $60 by the year 2024.

Kansas faces the same situation nearly every jurisdiction is currently confronted with: namely, the severe drop in membership, combined with an aging one (average age in Kansas is 68),  resulting in sharp losses in income to operate the fraternity. The losses are predicted to continue.

I know that in Indiana, we made a catastrophic economic error in the late 1940s, by passing a rule that exempted Masons in our state who had been members for 50 years from paying any dues at all. Anyone who could have read an insurance actuarial chart in those days should have known what a ticking time bomb that was financially. Attempts in recent years to repeal or even tinker with this provision in any responsible way have been met with shrieks of horror.

The Grand Lodge of Kansas circulated this video to all of its members in an effort to sell their proposal. I am curious to hear if it passes. But make no mistake - this will not be an isolated case as time marches on.

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UPDATE 3/19/16:

The vote in Grand Lodge today was about 50/50, but required a 2/3 majority to pass.

It failed.

Another year of kicking the problem down the road, as the numbers continue to fall and the income decreases further...

4 comments:

  1. This dollar amount is really insignificant and with an 8-year ramp up time, it should be no big deal to pay an extra $3 per month. Forget about declining membership, the world has gotten more expensive and dues need to reflect that. It's simple economics. Maybe it would be easier to accept if dues (and per capita from GL) was indexed to inflation.

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  2. Can't blame them. Unlike the decline in membership, I wouldn't view this as a big deal. One less night out on the time to preserve the solvency of the Fraternity should never be an excuse for the Brethren to complain about.

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  3. There needs to be a balance. If membership is dropping, then there isn't a need for the same amount of administration compared to many years ago. There isn't a need for so many districts. There also isn't a need for so many dead lodges to administer! Why does there need to be a Grand Lodge Communication every year?

    That said, even most lodge secretaries get a monthly honourarium. It goes a long way in compensating for the time spent even administering a lodge of 100 members. I don't wish the job on anybody. There should certainly be a modest compensation for certain Grand Lodge officers.

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  4. And I am just assuming here, but if the average age for Masons in Kansas is 68, then I'd assume most are retired and on fixed income. Any changes to that it difficult.

    I think the only way around it is to propose keeping dues the same for Masons over 65 and increase it for those under. Some may claim it will detract men from joining. Nay. It actually shows the value of it--that is, if lodges are offering that value to new Masons.

    But perhaps not wanting to increase per capita dues as necessary says how much it is valued by some.

    I'm sure this vote will be brought up again next year.

    ReplyDelete

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