2007 MAY - Governor Deval Patrick did not make the same mistake that former Governor Mitt Romney did in his first year as governor.

Patrick lived up to his commitment to retirees by including the necessary language for a three percent COLA for state and teacher retirees in his FYÕ08 State Budget, submitted to the Legislature this January.

Members will recall that Romney failed to file a state/teacher COLA twice during his four-year term, including his first year when he also unsuccessfully attempted to float a 401(k) type plan as a substitute for our defined benefit pension plan.

Locally, fifty-two retirement boards have voted for 3% COLAs for their retirees this July. As our members know, the uniform law, which our Association created, gives total power to local boards in voting these COLAs. There is no political process.

"I don't know of any local board that won't exercise their prerogative to vote the three percent," said Association President Ralph White. "Any increase in the $12,000 COLA base won't take place this year, but I feel quite confident that an increase to a $16,000 base is well within reach during the current legislative session."

The COLA eligibility law requires that a retiree must be on the pension rolls one full fiscal year prior to receiving their first COLA.This means that a member must be retired prior to July 1, 2006 to be eligible for this July''s COLA. Members retired since that date will be eligible for the July 2008 COLA.