(February 7, 2018) Yesterday, the House Committee on Aging and Long Term Care heard testimony from both proponents and opponents on HB 413. The majority of the 13 persons who spoke on various parts of the bill were opposed to OPERS efforts to cap retirees’ COLA payment at actual inflation up to a maximum of 2.5%. OPERS Executive Director, Karen Carraher, was given yet another opportunity to address the committee and led those testifying with remarks in support of the bill. She was followed by PERI President & CEO, Geoff Hetrick, who spoke about the lack of a financial challenge to OPERS pension’s funded status that would otherwise create an argument for such a reduction to take place. He followed with remarks about breaking the trust between OPERS and retirees who have seen reductions in their purchasing power with the simple COLA they receive. Additional testimony was offered by PERI member and former Morgan County Prosecutor, Rich Ross, who spoke about the breach of a vesting contract that would take place if the bill were to pass in its current form. Mr. Ross pointed out there is case law that clearly demonstrates that such a change to the COLA would violate both the Ohio and U.S. Constitutions. All persons who testified in opposition to the bill made good arguments and presented our position with clarity. PERI will keep you informed of further developments.