Flurry of Activity on Beacon Hill

April 9, 2007:  Legislative leaders in the Massachusetts State House
are now busy at work on a number of proposals that have a direct impact on
public retirees. Bills raising the COLA base, creating a new minimum pension
and allowing local retirees greater access to the state’s Group Insurance plans,
are now being closely considered.
On April 5, Association President Ralph White offered
compelling testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Service in support of
raising the COLA base from $12,000 to $16,000. Setting our Association’s
proposal apart from those filed by other organizations, is a detailed plan as
to how to fund the new benefit. A funding source is critical to any proposal
making it through the legislative process.


In late March, the Public Service Committee favorably
released the Association’s bill raising the minimum pension of career public
employees, with at least twenty-five years of public service, to $15,000. The
bill, which is now numbered H2604, has been discharged to the House Committee
on Ways and Means.

Finally, legislative leaders may soon act on a proposal,
which would create a new process by which local governments can enroll their
retirees and active employees in the state’s group insurance plans. Several
identical local option bills have been filed, which are supported by our
Association, that may help to lower local insurance costs in some communities,
while offering retirees a better selection of plans.

Also, the House Committee on Ways and Means will release its version of the Fiscal Year 2008 State Budget on Wednesday April 11. Debate is now scheduled for the week of April 23, 2007.