The Senate Finance Committee approved a measure here Monday that provides for a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retirees and beneficiaries of four state retirement systems. Senate Bill 2 moves to the full Senate.
The four systems are the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System (LASERS), the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana (TSRL or Teachers), The Louisiana School Employees’ Retirement System (LSERS) and the State Police Retirement System (SPRS or Troopers).
The increase would only be paid on the first $60,000 of a retiree or beneficiary’s benefit. The maximum amount would be 1.5 percent of the retiree’s benefit for LASERS and Teachers and 2 percent for LSERS and Troopers.
S.B. 2 is by Sen. Barrow Peacock, R-Bossier City, chairman of the Senate Retirement Committee. His measure overrides current law for one year and provides a larger COLA than what recipients would have otherwise received on July 1. Under current law retirees on July 1 would have received only a 0.124 percent COLA.
Peacock’s measure 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 20 years.
Each state system board of directors would grant the COLA provided for under S.B. 2 on July 1 of this year. Funds would come from the systems’ experience accounts.
If the balances in the experience accounts on June 30 are less than the cost of the COLAs, the percentage increase would be reduced accordingly. LSERS is the only one affected. It has $23 million in its experience account and its increase will cost $25.1 million.
Eligible under current law for the COLA are any regular retirees who have received a benefit for at least one year and who have attained at least age 60; any beneficiary of a regular retiree who has received a benefit for at least one year and if the deceased member would have attained age 60; and any disability retiree or beneficiary who receives benefits based on the death of a disability retiree if benefits have been received for at least one year.
LASERS has 33,575 regular retirees, 5,834 survivors and beneficiaries and 2,457 disabled retirees. Total cost their COLA would be $123.1 million. Teachers’ 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 $25.1 million. Troopers’ has 696 regular retirees, 335 survivors and beneficiaries and 62 disabled retirees. The cost of their increase would be $6.8 million.
Original article here.