The weather certainly slowed things down at the Capitol this week. One comment I read on Twitter Wednesday evening said, “Oklahoma City is cancelled tomorrow.” I had a good laugh at that, but of course, transportation crews, linemen, firemen, police, highway patrolmen, and other first responders were busier than ever. Our gratitude goes out to those men and women that work to make life easier and safer for the rest of us! Many of those folks retire and are part of one of the state’s pension systems. Like retired educators, they have also not had a cost of living increase in TEN YEARS.
A bill granting a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for retirees in state pension systems, House Bill 2985 by Rep. Avery Frix, should be heard by the House Banking and Business Committee on Tuesday, February 27th at 1:30 p.m. This bill is our best chance to obtain a COLA for retired state employees this year. The deadline for hearing bills in committee is March 1st, so the bill will have to be heard this week.
It is important to remember that any COLA would be paid for out of the retirement fund and NOT out of general revenue. This COLA does NOT take any money away from other programs or services and does not require any revenue to be taken out of the state budget. Also, the COLA can only be given if it does not jeopardize the health of the pension fund it comes from. If given, it will not put the plan at risk.
The bill’s language is still being finalized but we expect the COLA to be four percent to begin on November 1, 2018. There are still negotiations concerning granting the COLA to persons who have just retired.
The stipend bill, HB 1340, also passed out of committee earlier this month. The difference between the two is that a stipend is only a ONE TIME PAYMENT, whereas a COLA is a permanent increase in benefits.
The House Banking and Business Committee will be voting on bills this TUESDAY. If you have an opportunity please give them a call asking them to support HB 2985.
|Hall, Ellise - Chair||100||405-557-7403|
|McEachin, Scott - Vice Chair||67||405-557-7341|
|McDaniel, Randy - Chair Emeritus||83||405-557-7409|
Thanks for all you do and THANK YOU for being a member!