Association Remains Vigilant

JUNE 6, 2008: House and Senate leaders have now appointed a six-member conference committee to negotiate the differences that exist between the House and Senate versions of the FY09 state budget. The Committee consists of three members each from both branches of the Legislature.

Representatives Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), Marie St. Fleur (D-Boston), and Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth) are the House conferees, while Senators Stephen Panagiotakos (D-Lowell), Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) represent the Senate.

Of utmost importance to Association members are the provisions, passed in both versions of the budget, that increase the COLA base for public retirees. As members know, the House passed an amendment to its version of the budget that increased the COLA base to $16,000 for state and teacher retirees. The Senate version goes a step further and allows local retirement systems, by local option, to also increase the base for local retirees to $16,000. 

Since the House unanimously passed the COLA base amendment in late April, we have witnessed an avalanche of negative media attention (promoted by the MA Municipal Association and the conservative think-tank, Pioneer Institute) that have distorted the facts surrounding the COLA and called upon the Legislature to forestall the increase. Despite the misinformation, Senate leaders stuck by the Association and passed our amendment increasing the base for local retirees.

However, with local officials and several newspapers continuing to press for the defeat of the COLA base increase, the passage of the $16,000 base could be in doubt. Association officials continue to intensely lobby Legislative leaders to insure the COLA base increase remains within this year’s budget. 

In addition to contacting your own state Representative and Senator, members may want to contact the Budget Conference Committee members and ask that they continue to support the $16,000 COLA base.

House Conferees: Senate Conferees:

Chairman Robert DeLeo                                     Chairman Stephen Panagiotakos

617-722-2990                                                     617-722-1630

Marie St. Fleur                                                  Stephen Brewer


617-722-2380                                                    617-722-1540

Vinny deMacedo                                                Michael Knapik


617-722-2100                                                     617-722-1415

House Members Senate Members