Friday, January 9, 2009

COLA bills possible for State Employees and Teachers in upcoming Legislative Session

The chairmen of the state Senate and House retirement committees, Sen. Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, and Rep. Joel Robideaux, No Party-Lafayette, have tentatively agreed to sponsor legislation to approve cost-of-living adjustments, called COLAs, for both the teachers’ and state employees’ retirement systems.

No legislation has yet been drafted, Maureen Westgard, director of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, called TRSL, said at a meeting of its legislative committee. But ideas are starting to percolate, she said.

A COLA for retirees this year depends in part on the change in the national consumer Price Index for urban areas from December 2007 to December 2008. That figure is expected to be released Jan. 16.

“I think that is going to be very interesting and very telling,” Westgard said, noting that oil prices and the national economic climate might have affected the figure.

By law, enough money to fund a COLA has to be saved in a separate state account before an adjustment can be granted.

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