Association Calls On Members To Act

AUGUST 5, 2008: On Tuesday, both of the Commonwealth’s major daily newspapers had lead editorials urging Governor Deval Patrick to veto legislation that would raise the COLA base for state and teacher retirees. The bill, H4959, was enacted by the Legislature and sent to the governor on Thursday, July 31. It increases the COLA base to $16,000 for those eligible retirees with pensions less than $40,000.

Both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald use inflammatory language and misleading information in their call for the COLA increase to be rejected. This follows a front-page story in the Saturday, August 2 edition of the Globe, which uses the artificially inflated cost estimates, put forth by conservative think-tanks, as reason to oppose the COLA.
While Governor Patrick seems to be leaning toward approving H4959, a successful outcome is not guaranteed at this time. The Governor has until Monday, August 11, to make a decision.
“It is clear that the papers are against raising the base and they are relentless in their attacks. We’ve explained the true costs and how the pension funding schedule works, but for some reason the editorial writers choose to ignore the facts,” said Association President Ralph White. “We cannot leave anything to chance at this point and are asking members to contact the governor’s office to urge him to approve H4959. It is important that the governor (617-725-4000 or email from this form) hear from retirees, in their own words, just how tough it is right now to make ends meet."
“I’m afraid what’s it’s going to cost me to heat my place this winter,” says Linda Harrison in one of the typical calls that have been flooding the Association office over the past few weeks. “Every little bit helps, and I’d be very happy to see an extra ten dollars in my (pension) check each month.”
According to White, “Raising the base to $16,000 has been five-years in the making. We’ve now had several years of study, public hearings, and open debate on this issue. The new base is not a “ploy”, “scheme” or “cooked up” as the papers have reported. It is a well thought out plan that is fiscally sound and sustainable.”
Update: As of Thursday, August 7, H4959 remains before the governor.