Welcome to this week’s edition of This Week in Pensions! We have gathered 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.

Before we dive into our top stories from this week, check out some stories of public employees helping their communities during the coronavirus pandemic: 

Here are the top stories from this week: 

Cost-of-living adjustment for state pensioners becomes law by Cass Rains. Yesterday, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitts signed House Bill 3350 into law, which grants most of Oklahoma’s retired public employees their first cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 12 years. The state legislature sent the bill to the governor’s desk after a unanimous vote of 99-0 in the state House and an overwhelming 41-5 vote in the state Senate. The bill will phase in a COLA based on how long a public employee has been retired, as “those retired for five years or more as of July 1 will receive a 4% increase in monthly pension payments” and “those retired at least two years but not five will get a 2% increase.” Keep Oklahoma’s Promises, our coalition in-state, couldn’t have achieved this victory without the advocacy of retired public employees across the state. 

To balance budget, Colorado lawmakers add to PERA’s long-term debt and backtrack from landmark deal by Brian Eason. Last Friday, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) in the Colorado state legislature “decided to eliminate the state’s $225 million annual payment to the pension next budget year, which begins July 1.” This move “would add an estimated $990 million to the pension’s long-term debt if it’s approved by the full legislature.” Furthermore, skipping a payment to the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) would also threaten the state’s credit rating, “which would increase the state’s borrowing costs.” The JBC’s recommendation now moves on to the full state legislature.

Retiring in the Midst of COVID-19 by Brian G. Madgett. In this article for Kiplinger’s, Madgett writes about how many soon-to-be retirees are facing financial and logistical uncertainties due to the coronavirus pandemic, with some re-evaluating their timeline to retire. One certainty that retired public employees can count on is their defined benefit pension, which provides a secure and dignified retirement after a lifetime of service to their communities. Public pensions are able to withstand economic downturns because they collectively pool risk and use a mixture of high-risk and low-risk investments spread out over time to guarantee a stable retirement for retirees. 

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