9/9/22 Weekly Update: By CEO Shawn Duhamel
Before I jump into the news of the week, let me first remind everyone that our Annual Meeting takes place today (Friday) at Lombardo’s in Randolph. The meeting will kick off at 11AM. As is the case at all Mass Retirees meetings, members can bring a guest.
The meeting will be live streamed through our Facebook page starting shortly after 11AM. We also plan to post the video on YouTube, as well as www.MassRetirees.com following the meeting. If you do watch through Facebook and have a question during the Q&A portion of the meeting, please post a comment on the live feed at that time.
Meeting presentations will include updates on the COLA, state & local health insurance, our legislative program, and, of course, Social Security. The House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue Mark Cusack will be our guest speaker. Chairman Cusack played an important role in helping to pass the 5% COLA for FY23.
This being our first Annual Meeting since September 2019, we are very excited to be able to meet in person once again. Our hope is to hold two additional area meetings this fall, before returning to a routine schedule of meetings in 2023.Stay tuned for details later this month.
Speaking of the coming year, this week marked a major milestone in terms of what the Massachusetts political landscape will look like for the foreseeable future. Tuesday’s Primary Election saw a heavy turnout amongst retirees. We know that most of our members are “Super Voters” and this week you turned out in droves.
Each of the 5 statewide candidates endorsed by Mass Retirees for the Primary handily won their respective election. In fact, except for just two races, where first-time candidates lost their bid for an open seat, every single one of our endorsed candidates won their Primary.
As we’ve explained, it is vital to our success as an advocacy group that we stand with those who stand with our members. With so many competing interests vying for attention, it is important that we fight to ensure that public retirees are not forgotten.
Our advocacy work paid off this legislative session with the passage of the 5% COLA. With the CPI anticipated to be even higher in 2023, the stakes are even higher heading into the new year.
In terms of the FY23 COLA, legislation remains before the State Senate that will authorize local retirement boards to initiate the process to increase the COLA from 3% up to 5% for the current fiscal year. This bill was passed by the House in late July, after being returned to the legislature with amendment by Governor Baker. Local retirement boards cannot move forward until this special act passes, which we hope will be soon.
We are in communication with the Senate Leadership in the hope of prioritizing this bill for action. Once passed into law, the 102 local retirement boards – with the approval of the local government authority – can move forward to increase the FY23 COLA to the same 5% paid to State and Teacher Retirees.
I look forward to seeing many of you in person later this morning at Lombardo’s.
With great appreciation,
Chief Executive Officer
Mass Retirees Association