State/teacher Cola Approved

Anything But Routine 2010

SEPTEMBER 2010 VOICE: There was nothing routine about the 2010 state and teachers 3% COLA. Beginning with a misstep, in which the governor did not include the COLA authorization language in his FY 11 budget proposal, the passage of the COLA remained uncertain until the budget was signed on June 29.

While the House of Representatives did include authorization for the full 3% COLA within their April budget, the Senate did not include the measure when they took up the budget in May.

After a seeking the support of House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Ways and Means Chairman Charles Murphy to maintain their commitment for the 2010 COLA in the budget conference committee, Association officials made a direct appeal to Senate President Therese Murray.

A consistent retiree advocate, Murray agreed to accept the COLA language previously passed by the House, thus allowing the issue to be sent to Governor Patrick within the $28.7 billion  budget.

"The absence of a 2010 Social Security COLA and the continued recession were reasons for concern this year. It would be a mistake to ever take the COLA for granted, even though it's built into the pension funding schedule and not a direct budget appropriation," said Association President Ralph White. "Thankfully we have strong advocates on this issue within the House leadership, who fought to make sure it stayed within the budget.

"During times like these, it can be a challenge just to hang onto what we have. With the 2010 COLA now law, all eligible state and teacher retirees will have received their increase, beginning with the July pension check."