SENATE BUDGET INCLUDES 3% STATE & TEACHERS’ COLA

GIC Contribution Percent Intact For State Retirees

May 24, 2013: There are no unwelcome surprises for retirees and survivors in the Senate version of the FY’14 State Budget, approved Thursday night. In fact, the $34 Billion package includes some good news for retired state employees and teachers.

First and foremost, the Senate has approved a 3% COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustment) on the first $13,000 of a pension for eligible state and teacher retirees beginning this July 1. That means a state and teacher retiree, who retired before last July 1 (2011) would see up to $32.50 added to their July pension.

We should note that the COLA paid to local retirees is done so at the discretion of the local retirement board, as has been the case since 1998. Just like the state and teacher COLA, local COLA increases begin on July 1. Nearly all local retirement boards are expected to grant a 3% COLA in 2013.

Also under the Senate budget, state retirees would not see any change in the percentage that they contribute to their GIC (Group Insurance Commission) health insurance. Currently, state retirees contribute: 10% if they retired on or before July 1, 1994, 15% if after that date and before February 1, 2010 and finally 20% if they retired on or after February 1, 2010.

A House/Senate Conference will be meeting next month to iron out differences between their versions of the budget. Since both chambers agreed on the 3% State/Teachers’ COLA and the GIC contribution percentages for state retirees, these provisions will be contained in the final version of FY’14 State budget that will go to the Governor for his signature.

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