COLA Effort Updates

Update 2/3/23:

A Message from the PASR Executive Director and Board of Directors

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Thank you to all of you who have started to put in place structures and systems to increase communication to our elected officials concerning a COLA! We know that they are hearing you as we have received commentary from several offices regarding the communications!

The PA General Assembly will begin its new term on January 3rd, and the odds for passing COLA legislation for PSERS annuitants seem to be more favorable than last year due to the new composition of the General Assembly! 

We have had a good start this past fall with many of you making efforts–kudos!–but we need to make this a sustained effort throughout the winter and spring if we are to have any hope of success. So, please keep communicating with your elected officials and encouraging as many others as possible to do the same.

The most common reason provided by legislators for opposing a COLA is that the pension systems have unfunded liabilities and a COLA would add to that unfunded liability. This is understandable, but one the proposals from PASR would add 0.2% to that unfunded liability…yes, just one fifth of one percent!! This proposal, however, would have a significant impact on the well being of annuitants that retired twenty years or more ago and have not received a COLA in two decades (losing over 50% of their purchasing power to inflation). On balance, the added unfunded liability is a small price to pay to help retirees live in diginity, especially with $5 BILLION in the state’s “rainy day” fund!!

The more legislators hear from constituents consistently and with frequency, the more likely PSERS annuitants are to gain the support from more legislators to pass a COLA bill! Find your elected leaders here: https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/

Again, grassroots efforts are needed, so please adapt the language used and add personal anecdotes to emphasize the need for a COLA—the more unique messages they receive, the better!

If you would like to help in this effort more directly, please contact a local PASR chapter (County chapter information and contact information can be found at www.pasr.org under the “find a chapter” link) or call our office at 717-697-7077. 

If you are a PASR member, please contact your chapter’s LPEC chair or president. If you are not a member of PASR, please consider joining–information about PASR and how to join can be found at www.pasr.org.

 

How to locate and contact your State elected officials:

As a member of PASR, we humbly request that you enthusiastically join our effort to make your voices heard! Please reach out individually and coordinate with your chapter LPEC Chair and/or Chapter President to enhance your own efforts.

https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/

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:

  1. Phone call to the legislator’s local office.
  2. Phone call to the legislator’s Harrisburg office.
  3. Personal visit to legislator’s local office.
  4. Email or write a letter.
  5. Communicate with them on their social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.
  6. Write editorials for your local news sources.

 

For “Talking Points” to use in your communications, please reach out to our office at 717-697-7077 or pasr@pasr.org. We have a list of themes for you to use. Pick one that is comfortable for you, or you can use a basic suggested message.

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When Communicating with Members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly

  1. Please do not be overly “aggressive” or demanding in asking for support for a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). Being respectful is a better methodology.
  2. Please mention that we (PASR) recognize the challenges that lawmakers/elected officials have each year when it comes time to pass the state budget. We understand that this is not a simple or easy request, and it will cost money.
  3. Please highlight your personal situation and need for a COLA in light of the 75% inflation since 2000 that has gobbled up your purchasing power.
  4. Others have seen increases since 2002, but not public school retirees who so richly deserve to be able to live a dignified retirement.

 

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! Please visit https://www.nirsonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/pensionomics2021_pa.pdf for more information.

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. 

PASR Links

Links to PASR information regarding legislative updates

PASR L/PEC Brochure

Donate to PASR L/PEC Efforts

PSERS Links

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.

May 2022 Revenue – Pennsylvania collected $3.2 billion in General Fund, which was $402.4 million, or 14.2 percent, over estimate. Fiscal year-to-date General Fund collections total $43.9 billion, which is $4.9 billion, or 12.5 percent, above estimate.  As reported by Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators

Updated PSERS Board Of Trustees Internal Investigation Report

How Pa. teachers’ pensions fit into the feud between Oz, McCormick

PA PSERS Board Of Trustees Announces New Committee Chair And Vice Chair Assignments

This article summarizes many of the issues facing PSERS including its financial performance and legal inquiries

DOJ Drops Investigation Into PSERS — But Challenges Remain for the Fund

PSERS tells members U.S. Attorney has closed probe of $75 billion teachers pension fund with no charges

PSERS Board of Trustees today unanimously voted to name Joseph J. Indelicato Jr. as a Special Advisor to the Board.

PSERS’s investments for a recession

Pennsylvania State Senate approves new requirement for high school students

Two Pennsylvania Educators Elected To PSERS Board Of Trustees

PSERS Board Certifies The First Decline In The Employer Contribution Rate In More Than A Decade

PSERS has selected a new Chief Investment Officer. Ben Cotton had worked for Ford and will be the highest paid state employee in PA.

PA PSERS Board Re-Appoints Montgomery County Educator As Board Chair

PA State Links

Pension Research Links

Interesting Stories and Lighter Reads

After two decades and record inflation, school retirees need a COLA

Pa. teacher shortage worsens as interest in teaching falls

PA Legislators set to receive COLA while denying state pension annuitants a COLA

Pa. Dept. of Aging launches unit to investigate financial exploitation of older adults

Legislators will have to weigh giving retired state employees a COLA as they are set to receive their own COLA, which will pad their pensions!

HOLIDAY EVENTS IN PENNSYLVANIA 2023

With a $7,400 raise, Pa. lawmakers’ earnings all top six figures

Twenty years and counting for PA retirees without a COLA, now struggling with inflation

Books We Love – Explore more than 3,200 recommendations from NPR staff and trusted critics.

Pennsylvania Events and Festivals

Paul Muschick: Pennsylvania lawmakers cash in on inflation while ignoring plight of retirees

Lawmakers propose raising teachers’ minimum salaries to $60K to stem ‘mass exodus’

Pension costs for Pa. taxpayers to decrease next year for the first time in over a decade

Pa. school pension trims taxpayer cost, details $1.7 billion paid to Wall Street managers

What U.S. Travelers Need to Know About Real ID

Five takeaways from Gov. Josh Shapiro’s inaugural speech

Paul Muschick: Pennsylvania lawmakers cash in on inflation while ignoring plight of retirees

Changes proposed for Pennsylvania school boards, members

You’re invited! A free ‘How Harrisburg Works’ event on Pennsylvania special elections

Taxes in Retirement: What to Expect and How to Save Money