COLA Hearing Encouraging

MAY 2001 -
Next Step: Cost Data - February 27 was opening day for the Joint Legislative Committee on
Public Service, the first of 16 scheduled hearing dates which will
conclude on June 26.

From
our Association’s viewpoint, it was only fitting that the Committee
scheduled our pension cost-of-living bill (H335) as the opening bill in
a 21-item agenda.

The
presentation was made by Ralph White and Shawn Duhamel with a host of
backers, registering support, including the police and fire unions and
the Mass Association of Retirement Systems.

White urged the Committee to seek cost figures for the bill’s new $20 thousand COLA base before taking any action.

“Knowing
the Committee cannot give a favorable report to a bill without
attaching a price tag, we asked that they request actuarial numbers
from the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission, which
they have done,” said White. “This data will include the State and
Teachers’ Retirement System. We are also working with the Committee to
provide the same data from a cross-section of local retirement systems.
We say cross-section because the funding schedules vary greatly from
system to system.

“This
will be a slow, orderly process, it’s a two-year legislative session.
Senator Joyce and Representative Dempsey and the committee members are
very familiar with the history of our Association. We have always been
aggressive in fighting for our members, but at the same time fair and
reasonable in working with the legislature. I am confident that
2001-2002 will be a productive session.”

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