Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! As we do most weeks, we have gathered the best stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week. This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement.
Here are this week’s top stories:
Guest Opinion: Watch out for pensions by Jason Bailey, Executive Director for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. In his guest piece to the Daily Independent, Bailey makes the argument that although the Kentucky lawmakers have adjourned for the veto period, Kentuckians should still be on the lookout for bad pension legislation. The Senate’s version of HB 358, which we wrote about in Defined Benefit this week, is a flagrant violation of the inviolable contract Kentucky public employees have with the state. Bailey warns that “the cost spike facing quasi-government agencies is not a story of ‘saving’ the pension system, but of manufacturing a crisis to exert pressure for ending pensions as we know them.”
Legislation would give state retirees pension pay increase by Steve Metzer. As many pension followers know, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a 4 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for public employee retirees 98-3 last week. The bill now moves to the Senate where NPPC’s coalition – Keep Oklahoma’s Promises (KOP) – is looking to push it over the finish line. Metzer writes correctly that retired public employees in the state haven’t had a COLA since 2008. For the last 11 years, the cost of groceries, medication, and other essential items have increased, leaving retired public employees behind.
Proposed repeal of Michigan ‘pension tax’ prompts fairness debate by Lindsay VanHulle. In 2011, former Governor Rick Synder pushed a tax on government pension benefits through the legislature. He did this to help pay for a $1 billion tax cut for businesses. Now, Governor Gretchen Whitmer is trying to repeal the tax, but is facing opposition from, surprise!, the business community. Repealing the pension tax would allow more spending by retired public employees, boosting their local economies and helping them support their families in retirement.
Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!