(January 31, 2018) PERI is continuing the fight to defeat HB 413 and its most onerous provision that would cap retirees’ COLA at actual inflation up to a maximum of 2.5% annually. We recently learned that the performance of OPERS investment portfolio was outstanding last year and realized more than double the anticipated return of 7.5% annually, coming in at a robust 16.2%. The results provided OPERS with billions of additional dollars that likely no one saw coming at the beginning of 2017. This is another reason to believe OPERS when they say that the state of the system is strong and getting stronger. Given the lack of an economic crisis to drive reductions in benefits, OPERS is further pressed to demonstrate that 200,000 retirees should be forced to live on reduced benefits. PERI strongly urges members to continue to contact legislators and express your opinion that HB 413 is a bad deal for retirees and is completely unnecessary.
After review of an important court case that addresses an issue very similar to this, PERI believes OPERS and the General Assembly lack the authority to pass this proposed change and will face almost certain litigation if HB 413 becomes law. Remember, the proposed reduction to COLA has not taken effect and won’t unless it passes the General Assembly and is signed by the Governor. There is still a long way to go before this is resolved. Rest assured that PERI will continue to fight on your behalf and do everything within our power to protect your COLA benefit.