Budget Also Includes Full GIC Funding

JANUARY 24, 2013: Governor Deval Patrick proposed a full 3% COLA increase for eligible state and teacher retirees within his FY 2014 budget proposal filed on Wednesday. In November 2011, the state increased the COLA base for state and teacher retirees to $13,000.

COLA's for municipal and county retirees are the responsibility of local retirement systems. At this time, a number of local systems have begun discussions to approve a 3% COLA for their retirees come July 1.

The $34.8 billion budget proposal, known as H1, also fully funds the state’s Group Insurance Commission (GIC). Patrick maintains the GIC’s contribution rate split for state retirees at 90/10, 85/15 and 80/20, which are based on a retiree’s date of retirement. All state retirees are grandfathered at the contribution rate in effect when they retired.

This same policy is recommended by the Special Commission on Retiree Healthcare for municipal governments to follow. Governor Patrick is expected to file legislation that contains such language, along with other retiree healthcare reforms, within the coming weeks.

Also included within the outside sections of H1 is a proposal that creates a new special commission to study dental insurance plans, along with the contracts that exist between dentists and insurance companies. Since a large number of retirees now have access to the GIC’s MetLife Retiree Dental Plan, our Association will closely monitor the work of the 25-member Dental Commission, once it begins its work later this year.

The budget is now before the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is chaired by Representative Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill). It will likely appear before the House for debate and a vote in mid-April. Senate action will follow in May, before the budget is completed for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.