COLA Effort Updates

A Message from the PASR Executive Director

 

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Chair of the L/PEC Committee (Legislative Political Education Committee) and the entire Committee, here is a synopsis of what we are doing and planning for in 2022:

  1. The L/PEC Committee continues to frequently meet to discuss the action plan for a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment). We continue to monitor the news articles that cover the events at PSERS (Public School Employee Retirement System). This includes following the House State Government Hearings and review testimony submitted. PASR will be submitting our own testimony at a future hearing of the House State Government Committee. The Committee continues to monitor the 2022 Reapportionment Process at the State and Federal Levels and the 2022 election cycle. The Committee and staff will continue to follow the COLA trends throughout the United States and scrutinize reform bills that have been introduced in the State House of Representatives to change the operations at PSERS and SERS (State Employees Retirement System). At this point, the most relevant bills are House Bills 1008, 1671, 1698, and 2010. The sponsors of this legislation contend that these reforms are overdue. Also, we are reviewing legislative proposals and continue to work with Legislative Leaders on a COLA solution.
  2. The PASR Leadership is requesting a Zoom meeting with many members of the PSERS Board of Trustees to answer our questions regarding past and future PSERS activities. We expect to have several Zoom meetings within the next month.
  3. Every 6 months, PASR requests the most recent list of PSERS annuitants. The purpose of this database will help us better understand the COLA needs of our members while developing a new list of potential PASR members. The PSERS list of annuitants also helps PASR define “talking points” for when we lobby members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. It will also help us determine the pension data for a wide range of demographic factors.
  4. It is important to note that there remains an ongoing federal investigation into the operations at PSERS. PSERS just finished an internal investigation that was narrow in its scope compared to the federal investigation. A link to the published findings of the PSERS internal investigation is posted on the PASR website.
  5. In December, the PASR Board of Directors passed a resolution that supports a COLA for all PASR Members with the understanding that the Pre-Act 9 annuitants are in greatest need (retired prior to July 1, 2001). The resolution was initiated by the L/PEC Committee first. Both L/PEC and the Board of Directors cast a unanimous vote in support of this initiative, and it is the official position of PASR.

We continue to work toward this necessary legislative goal, but since it has been a long time since the last COLA, our patience for continued inaction is running out. Taking into consideration that there are Pennsylvania budget surpluses coupled with increased inflation, the timing seems to be right. We ask the question – “when will PSERS be able to prioritize the retirees?” We believe this and want this year to be the one where we succeed. Along with our COLA goal, we are actively seeking increased retiree representation on the PSERS Board of Trustees. Having only one annuitant Board member is not enough.

We are in the process of drafting a concrete COLA proposal while supporting needed reforms, especially those that will save money through operations and investment fees. Hopefully, potential cost savings may offset the cost of a COLA. We will be communicating with our membership regarding needed help for outreach to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

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.

News Articles on PSERS

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

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

PA State Links

Pension Research Links

Interesting Stories and Lighter Reads

In Other News