Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Panel chairmen say retirement benefits won’t be increased

Plans to increase retirement benefits for two groups of state employees this year have been dropped according to the chairmen of the state’s legislative retirement committees.

House Retirement Committee Chairman Joel Robideaux, No Party-Lafayette, and Senate Retirement Committee Chairman Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, sent a letter explaining their situation to House Speaker Jim Tucker and Senate President Joel Chaisson.

Adjustments could be around 2 percent this year based on investment returns. But COLAs are also tied to the consumer price index, which came in at 0.1 percent. The lesser value has to be used, according to state law.

An adjustment of 0.1 percent would amount to monthly increases of $1.53 for LASERS retirees and $1.78 for TRSL retirees, the letter states.

Research on the issue shows that the current plan for determining COLAs is flawed, the chairmen say in the letter.

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