Articles about the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees

Foundation Urges Passage of Meaningful Pension Reforms

Mass Taxpayers Foundation Report

In a presentation to PERAC's Emerging Issues Forum and a letter to state senators, the Foundation highlights the urgency of passing legislation to reform the pension system for state and municipal employees.

Six Boards Break Ice On Cola Base Barrier

JANUARY 2011 VOICE: Six intrepid local retirement boards have broken the ice which had restricted the pension COLA base to $12,000 since 1998 - twelve years ago. This change in the law, which allows a higher base option, was made possible by the passage of Chapter 188 of the Acts of 2010, enacted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor this past July. The new law also allows boards to extend their debt funding schedules to a maximum date of Year 2040, in order to reduce annual appropriations by their community or county.

Cola Base Breakthrough

Patrick Approves Landmark Law 

SEPTEMBER 2010 VOICE: Governor Deval Patrick approved the Association's proposal that will allow local retirement systems to incrementally increase the COLA base beyond the current $12,000 level.

This marks a major breakthrough in the state's COLA policy that will have a lasting impact on all public retirees. A similar plan to increase the base for state and teacher retirees will be addressed early next year, along with the revaluation of the Commonwealth's pension funding schedule.

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.

COLA Base And Its History

July 06 - Funding Schedule Explained - The Commonwealth’s first COLA law was passed back in 1966 and only allowed a COLA to be paid to retirees with pensions of $5,000 or less.

Legislature Approves 3% for State and Teachers

July 06 - Boards Prepare For July COLA - Members who were on the pension rolls prior to July 1, 2005 can look forward to a new 3% COLA this July.

Both the House and Senate agreed to a 3% COLA for state and teacher retirees in their FY ’07 state budget (effective this July), thus taking care of the two largest retirement systems. The State and Teachers’ Retirement Boards are now preparing to pay this COLA to eligible retirees.

Push On For New COLA Base

MAY 2006 - Schedule Adjustment Can Absorb $16,000 Level - Nearly a decade after landmark legislation established the current law governing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Association leaders are urging the Legislature to move forward with a plan to increase the COLA base to $16,000.

Local COLA Voting Season Opens

UPDATED APRIL 18, 2006 - Newton Board Leads The Way - Local government retirement boards have until July 1st to vote for a July 2006 3% COLA for their retirees and survivors.
boards wait until sometime after the first of the year to take a vote
on the July 1st COLA, a few even waiting until June to vote.

Romney Slights Retirees - Again

MARCH 2006 - No Pension COLA In His Annual Budget - It's hard to believe, but Governor Mitt Romney, in submitting his FY 07 state budget (effective July 1, 2006) to the Legislature, failed to include a 3% pension COLA for state and teacher retirees.

COLA Base Update

- Association officials continue to work closely with the Joint
Committee on Public Service to draft legislation raising the COLA base
to a higher level in 2006.