PUBLIC SERVICE COMMITTEE RAISES COLA BASE TO $16,000

May 11, 2007:
Marking the first important step, the Joint Public Service Committee, chaired
by Rep. Jay Kaufman (D-Lexington) and Sen. Ben Downing (D-Piffsfield) has
approved the Association’s centerpiece legislation, raising the COLA Base.

The
bill, now S1586, includes several Association proposals, most importantly,
raising the Base for state and teacher retirees to $16,000 and allowing local
retirement systems to increase their Base to any level above the current
$12,000, through adjustments in their pension funding schedules.

The bill now goes to the Senate for
further action. Here are the highlights:

                        For
State & Teacher Retirees:

1.    
Increase the $12,000 Maximum COLA Base to $16,000.

2.    
Establish the Percentage Increase in the COLA at the Consumer
Price Index (CPI) or 3%, whichever is greater.

3.    
Extend the State/Teacher’s Pension Funding Schedule by 3
years, from 2023 to 2026, effective 7/1/07.

4.    
Provide for additional increases in the Maximum COLA Base from
$16,000 to the maximum Social Security benefit (currently $25,000) on staggered
basis, commencing at 65% of the maximum on 7/1/08 and ending at 100% on 7/1/24.

For Local Retirees: Local Option
(subject to Retirement Board acceptance, with the approval of the local
legislative body).

1.    
Increase the Maximum COLA Base to an amount greater than
$12,000, as determined locally.

2.    
Extend the Local Pension Funding Schedule beyond 2028 (subject
to PERAC approval).

More news on this important
legislation will be reported in the next (July) Voice. Remember to also check your weekly 24-hour
toll-free Hotline for other breaking developments on the COLA.

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