Articles about the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that may be useful to Massachusetts retirees
- At this point 39 local retirement boards – cities, towns, counties,
districts and authorities – have voted 3% pension COLAs for their
eligible members beginning this July.
- Bristol County First To Vote - While the state and teacher 3% July 2003 pension COLAs will not be
final until the House, Senate and Governor reach final agreement on an
FY’04 state budget late this spring, we are moving forward in
encouraging local retirement boards – our 104 city, town, county,
district and authority boards – to take prompt action in voting for 3%
will recall that our Association’s 1997 legislation (Ch. 17) gave
five-member local boards the exclusive authority to vote on COLAs.
Originally Ch. 17 required boards to vote for a Consumer Price Index
(CPI) COLA, as used by Social Security, if it was less than 3%. A
subsequent amendment, which we sponsored, allowed boards the discretion
of voting for a higher 3% COLA.
- State, Teachers OK In Budget - Local retirement boards have moved quickly in approving three percent
cost-of-living increases for their retirees and survivors effective
- As of March 30, fifty-five local retirement boards including seven
for county/regional systems had voted to pay a 3% cost-of-living (COLA)
beginning July 1. Members in these systems must have retired before
July 1, 2001 in order to receive this increase.
- First Board To Take Action - Newton's Retirement Board, the first retirement board in the state to
vote for a July 2002 3% COLA, wasted no time in making a decision.
Their unanimous vote was actually held on December 12, 2001, before
calendar year 2002 even started.
- Finally, eligible state and teacher retirees and survivors will
receive their 3% pension COLA which will be effective retroactively to
- Economic Woes Slow Legislative Process - Beyond the human tragedies that have resulted from the September 11
terrorist attacks is the impact the tragedy has had on our economy. The
economic downturn that began last year has been accelerated in the
weeks following the attack. As a result, legislative leaders are
closely monitoring state revenue receipts and considering trimming
expenditures for the current fiscal year.
- Major Challenge For Association - Our Association’s bill, H335, which would raise the current COLA base
of $12,000 to $20,000 for state and teacher retirees, with the same
option at the local level, remains in the Joint Committee on Public
- State, Teachers Await Budget Passage For Their COLA - For the first time since the enactment of our new 1997 COLA law, all
eligible retirees and survivors of the 104 city, town, county,
regional, authority and district retirement systems received a 3%
pension cost of living (COLA) increase effective this July.
JULY 2001 - The
Easthampton Retirement Board, which voted 3-2 against a July COLA, will
take a second vote on June 29. Board member Mary Brewer, who voted
against the COLA, has moved reconsideration, allowing the Board to vote
again. It is expected that the meeting room will be packed with
retirees on June 29.