Monday, January 26, 2009

State Retirement Systems Seek COLA

The executive director for the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System, said she plans to ask the chairman of the House retirement committee to sponsor cost-of-living adjustments, called COLAs, for system retirees in the upcoming legislative session.

Executive Director Cindy Rougeou said there is enough money saved to give its members a cost-of-living pay increase, but state law will limit the amount.

The COLA could be around 2 percent, Rougeou said, but state law limits it to less than 1 percent this year because it is tied to the consumer price index.

Rougeou said she would try to get the Legislature to fund the higher COLA.

The funds involved are separate from the state operating budget. State services face a $2 billion shortfall for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Earlier, Maureen Westgard, executive director of Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, called TRSL, said she would make a similar request of the Louisiana Senate’s retirement committee chairman.

According to state law, LASERS can fund a COLA if there is enough money for the lesser of two things — the Consumer Price Index for urban areas or 3 percent. TRSL’s COLA can be the lesser of the index and either 2 percent or 3 percent, depending on its investment earnings for the year.

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