Senator Richard Devlin and Representative Peter Buckley today introduced SB 822. This bill reduces the cost-of-living adjustment for retirees and current workers. The impact of this attack is cumulative over time, hitting many older retirees with double digit annual cuts, and costing thousands over the course of retirement. Further, since the "brackets" do not change over time, the number of retirees impacted in the future will be greater.
The amount of the reduction is on a sliding scale:
2% COLA on the amount below $20,000/yr
1.5% COLA on the amount $20,000 to $40,000
1% on the amount $40,000 to $60,000
0.25% on the amount above $60,000
A 1.5% COLA for all retirees this year only.
Current law allows a 2% COLA.
This is an unfair way to balance the budget. It is illegal to reduce promised benefits for people who are already retired or working. Even Representative Buckley has called it "immoral."
But the legislature does not have the guts to raise taxes on the wealthy or big corporations, so this is the path they are taking instead.
This Wednesday, March 27th at 3 pm in the capitol Room F, there will be a hearing on this bill in the Senate Rules Committee. We must have a good turnout. Public testimony will be allowed. Come tell your story. Tell legislators that they should not join in the attack on public employees.
Below, please find a statement from SEIU Local 503 President Rob Sisk and Executive Director Heather Conroy:
“The co-chairs' PERS proposal remains illegal and unfair to seniors and workers. The budget hole is the product the second lowest corporate tax burden in America, tax loopholes for wealthy individuals, and rising PERS contribution rates for employers directly attributable to the illegal actions of Wall Street bankers at a time of record demand for services. Instead of focusing on recouping the money from those who stole it and asking those who can afford it to pay their fair share, the co-chairs focus on attacking seniors. They propose to close the budget gap by using one illegal act — abrogating contracts — to respond to another.
“The illegal cap on COLAs amounts to taking out a $400 million payday loan to balance the budget. Taking the money from people who are already retired and from current workers while refusing to specify a sacrifice from those getting ahead in this economy is, to use Representative Buckley's word, ‘Immoral.’ "
Rob Sisk, President
Heather Conroy, Executive Director,
SEIU Local 503