COLA Effort Updates
A Message from the PASR Executive Director and Board of Directors
The Cold Reality of Passing a COLA
The 2022-23 Pennsylvania Budget passed and was signed into law by the Governor, our legislative and strategic goal was for the General Assembly to pass a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) during the budget process. Our approach was based on “now” is the right time to pass a COLA and the large budget surplus that existed this fiscal year. To be clear, any COLA bill would not be part of the actual budget but would pass on a specific piece of legislation. Unfortunately, to our great disappointment, the General Assembly adjourned for the summer without addressing this necessary, vital, and greatly needed legislation. Each time the General Assembly does not act, the pain level among our membership increases.
The chances of passing a COLA really should be better than what we have experienced for the last two decades. Between 1967 and 2001, there was a COLA about every 2 ½ years. Nothing since 2001. Right now, there are about 10 session days scheduled for the rest of the 2022 which makes passing legislation by the end of the year – a challenge. While we remain confident that the PA General Assembly will finally see the justice, need, and necessity of a COLA, we have no choice but to keep working to compel them to see the wisdom of passing this as soon as possible. We need all five legislative elements to support us (all four legislative caucuses and the Governor). We are working with other groups who share our legislative goals. We don’t have the option of not trying every day to make this happen. We all know that inflation is very harmful to fixed incomes. We extend our sincere thanks to those who reached out to their elected representatives in support for a COLA. Without your efforts, our path to success would be much more difficult.
We are urging the Pennsylvania General Assembly to act now as part of the Pennsylvania Budget process. Having YOUR help is extremely important in our fight for a COLA to pass legislation.
How to locate and contact your State Representative.
If you do not know who currently represents you, your address will identify that person.
Once you locate your state rep – here are the various ways to contact them:
- Phone call to the legislator’s local office.
- Phone call to the legislator’s Harrisburg office.
- Personal visit to legislator’s local office.
- Email to office.
- Communication on Facebook page.
- Communication on Twitter.
- Email to State Representative from their Web Page.
For “Talking Points” to use in your communications, please reach out to our office at 717-697-7077 or email@example.com. We have a list of themes for you to use. Pick one that is comfortable to you, or you can use a basic suggested message.
When Communicating with Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly
- Please do not be overly “aggressive” or demanding in asking for support for a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). Respectful is a better methodology.
- Please mention that we (PASR) recognize the challenges that lawmakers/elected officials have each year when it comes time to pass the state budget.
- Others have seen increases since 2002, but not public school retirees.
- Please refer to the WHP-21 CBS affiliate article regarding a COLA. https://local21news.com/news/local/school-retirees-push-for-cola-increase-after-21-years-of-stagnation
- We understand that this is not a simple or easy request, and it will cost money.
The positive economic impact on Pennsylvania of pension payments made to retired state workers and more evidence that a COLA for PSERS annuitants would benefit everyone if only we could get the General Assembly to listen! Click HERE to read more.
Pennsylvania’s top court rules mail voting law can remain in place – The PA Supreme Court has ruled that: “We find no restriction in our Constitution on the General Assembly’s ability to create universal mail-in voting,” Justice Christine Donohue wrote in the majority opinion.
This ruling allows for a 2019 law to remain in place so that mail-in voting for any reason is a viable option for all eligible voters.
There are two different types of Mail Ballots: Absentee Ballot: If you plan to be out of the municipality on election day or if you have a disability or illness, you can request this ballot type. This ballot requires you to list a reason for your request. Absentee Ballots must be applied for and are not automatically issued. Mail-in Ballot: Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may simply request this ballot without a reason. Residents have the option to complete one application for a mail in ballot for the primary AND the general election OR they may apply for each election individually. Residents must apply for a ballot, they are not automatically issued to registered voters.
The deadline to register to vote for the 2022 General election, to be held on 11/8/2022, is 10/24/2022.
If you plan to request an absentee or mail-in ballot, you must request the ballot no later than 11/1/2022. Even if you have voted by mail in the past, you must request an absentee or mail-in ballot again to use those ballots in the general election this November.
Russ Diesinger on the need for a COLA
As part of PASR’s continuing effort to get our members a COLA and provide current and relevant information, this page is designated to do just that. Below you will find links to important recent news articles that may affect the process of receiving a COLA.
Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) – PSERS website, you can find their information as well as login for your Pension and 1099-R information.
April 2022 Revenue – Pennsylvania collected $5.6 billion in General Fund revenue in March, which was $659.1 million, or 13.5 percent, more than anticipated. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $34.1 billion, which is $2.7 billion, or 8.5 percent, above estimate. As reported by Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators