The House Retirement Committee approved a measure Thursday to
provide for a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees and beneficiaries of four
state retirement systems.
House Bill 32 moves to the full House. A similar measure passed
the Senate and is awaiting a House committee hearing.
The four systems are the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement
System, the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, the Louisiana School
Employees’ Retirement System and the State Police Retirement System.
The increase would only be paid on the first $60,000 of a
retiree’s or beneficiary’s benefit. The maximum amount would be 1.5 percent of
the retiree’s benefit for LASERS and the TRSL, 1.9 percent for LSERS and 2
percent for the SPRS.
H.B. 32 is by Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin. His measure would
override current law for one year and provide a larger COLA than what
recipients would have otherwise received July 1. Each state system board would
grant the COLA provided for under H.B. 32 on July 1 of this year. Funds would
come from the systems’ experience accounts.
If the balances in the accounts on June 30 are less than the cost
of the COLAs, the percentage increase would be reduced accordingly.
Eligible under current law for the COLA are any regular retiree
who has received a benefit for at least one year and who has attained at least
age 60; any beneficiary of a regular retiree, beneficiary, or both combined
have received a benefit for at least one year and if the deceased member would
have attained age 60; and any disability retiree or any beneficiary who
receives benefits based on the death of a disability retiree if benefits have
been received by the retiree, beneficiary or both combined for at least one
LASERS has 33,575 regular retirees, 5,834 survivors and
beneficiaries, and 2,457 disabled retirees. Total cost of their COLA would be
$123.1 million. The TRSL has 58,751 retirees, 6,771 survivors and
beneficiaries, and 4,121 disabled retirees. Total coast of their increase would
be $224.7 million.
LSERS has 10,146 retirees,
1,662 survivors and beneficiaries, and 331 disabled retirees. Total cost of
their increase would be $23.8 million. The SPRS has 696 regular retirees, 335
survivors and beneficiaries, and 62 disabled retirees. The cost of their
increase would be $11.2 million.
Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City, is sponsor of the similar
retirement measure. His Senate Bill 2 was approved 35-0 by the full Senate and
is awaiting a hearing in the House Retirement Committee.
Peacock’s measure has one major difference from Jones’ bill.
Peacock’s is linked to passage of two other bills. S.B. 5 would require the
retirement systems to timely pay administrative costs rather than rolling them
over. S.B. 18 would reduce the time for paying off retirement debt from 30 to