Cellucci Budget Calls For 3% COLA

MARCH 2001 -
Local Boards Also Take Action - On January 24, Governor Paul Cellucci submitted his FY2002 state budget
(H1) to the Legislature. Included in the $22.5 billion budget package
was language that would trigger a 3% COLA for eligible retired state
employees and teachers this July.

Retirees
will recall that Cellucci failed to include such language in last
year's budget, but the House and Senate came through on behalf of
retirees when they enacted the budget - a budget that was ultimately
signed by the Governor.

The
$934 million state and teacher retirement line item in this year's
budget contains sufficient funds for a 3% COLA, even though the
long-range pension funding schedule calls for a $1.050 billion
appropriation. It is not known what the House and Senate will do about
the difference, but we are confident that both branches will concur on
the COLA figure.

Local Boards Begin COLA Process

Local
retirement boards are now beginning the process of voting on new 3%
COLAs to be paid this July, a vote that can be taken anytime prior to
July.

The Plymouth
County Board voted for a new 3% COLA at its November 2000 meeting on
behalf of members of the Plymouth County Retirement System. Plymouth
County was the first board to take such a vote. Several boards voted in
January including: Haverhill, Newton, Salem, Cambridge, Adams, Woburn,
Winchester, Bristol County, Fairhaven, Watertown, Arlington, Plymouth,
Swampscott, and Lawrence.

"We
achieved our goal in passing a law that puts the COLA vote in the hands
of the local retirement boards rather than the local governing
authorities. To require local retirees to go before their city council
or town meeting seeking a COLA each year would have been an annual
nightmare," said Association President Ralph White.

"Last
year was the first year that the boards could vote to pay a full 3%
rather than the lower consumer price index figure. All but a few boards
voted to do so. Since this year's CPI (consumer price index) is greater
than the 3% COLA limit, I would be shocked if any board failed their
retirees."

Retirees
or survivors who were on the pension rolls prior to July 1, 2000 are
eligible for this July's COLA. Members retired since that date will be
eligible for the July 2002 COLA.

Tags: