Welcome to March’s first edition of This Week in Pensions! 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 the top stories from this week: 

Retired Teachers, Police, Other Public Workers Could See Pension Bump by Eric Galatas. In this story for Public News Service, Galatas writes about how retired public employees rallied to support HB 112 in the state of Wyoming. The bill would have provided two much-needed inflation adjustments for Wyoming’s retired public employees (the first in 12 years). The bill would have also provided a crucial study on the impact of 2012 legislation that took power away from the Wyoming Retirement System to grant cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs). Unfortunately, despite passing out of the Wyoming House of Representatives, the bill was not taken up by the state Senate this week. We will continue fighting to make sure all of Wyoming’s public employees can live with dignity and security in retirement. 

Public Pension Benefit Spending Provides Substantial Economic Impact On Rural Communities And Small Towns Across U.S. by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS). On Tuesday, NIRS released a new report that highlights how pensions provide economic security to rural areas and small towns throughout the country. The study examined 1,401 counties across 19 states and found that “pension benefit dollars represent an average of 1.37 percent of total personal income, but some counties see greater than six percent of total personal income derived from pension dollars.” NIRS also discovered that “counties containing small towns experience the most relative economic benefit from pension benefit dollars.” Legislators from across the country should take note that pensions provide a real benefit to millions of Americans who live in rural areas. 

House Republicans unveil slimmer state budget with raises but little new revenue by John Cheves and Jack Brammer. Cheves and Brammer report from Frankfort, Kentucky on a two-year, $24 billion budget from legislators in the Kentucky House of Representatives. The proposed budget would “change how the state pension system… is supported in the future, with some public employers paying less than they presently do and others paying more.” This proposal “would charge public employers based on their proportionate share of the fund’s liability, rather than continuing to charge everyone the same flat rate.”  

Public Education Retirees Meet for Legislative Agenda by Chris Ardis. Ardis reports from Texas for the Valley Business Report about a group of retirees from the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) who want to advocate before the Texas state legislature in 2021 about different issues. Among them is granting a COLA as “only the Texas legislature can authorize a COLA for TRS retirees.” The last COLA for TRS retirees was granted in 2013 and applied to public school employees who retired before August 31, 2004. Going forward, these retirees want an annual COLA for retired TRS employees. 

New Mexico Overhauls Pension System for Public Workers by Sarah Min. In this article for Chief Investment Officer, Min writes about how the New Mexico state legislature passed legislation that changed the Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA). The changes included investing $55 million into the pension system and increasing cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for those aged 75 and older, people with disabilities, and those with pensions smaller than $25,000 after 25 years of service. It will also preserve COLAs for current and future retirees, with a minimum of .5 percent and a maximum of three percent. 

Be sure to check back next week for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement!