Monday, May 21, 2012

LASERS Board of Trustees Chair Connie Carlton Pens Letter to Editor

How and when cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are granted to retired state employees has long been an issue of concern for the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS). Our Board continues to seek a legislatively established mechanism that will provide a dependable and fiscally responsible method of granting COLAs for our retirees.

Current law ensures that a COLA will not be granted unless the retirement system has available funds for that purpose and legislative approval is obtained.

SB 740 by Senator Elbert Guillory would, in effect, end COLAs for the foreseeable future for our retired rank-and-file members, while catering, yet again, to hazardous duty members. Hazardous duty retirees could receive COLAs at the expense of all other retirees. This is not only outrageous, but unjustified, and unnecessary. There is no basis for treating these two sets of retirees differently.

This bill is not needed to prevent the granting of a COLA. It is nothing more than a cruel message to our rank-and-file retirees, whose average benefit is under $22,000 per year. And of course, they do not participate in Social Security either. What a shame.

SB 740 is pending passage in the House of Representatives now. I urge all of our retirees to express your thoughts on this legislation.

Connie Carlton
LASERS Board of Trustees

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