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Eye On Boise

House committee rejects move to block COLA for state retirees

The House State Affairs Committee has voted 13-5 to kill legislation proposed by Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, to block a scheduled 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state retirees on "equity" grounds, because active state employees are facing furloughs and other cuts. "It seems inconsistent," Lake told the committee. His proposal would have been the first time state lawmakers had ever rejected a proposal from the PERSI board on state retirees' cost-of-living adjustments. PERSI officials told the committee that last year, they opted to give retirees just a 1 percent COLA instead of 5.4 percent because of concerns about market conditions, but this year they were comfortable with the 1 percent proposal. Though Lake argued that things have changed since the PERSI board made that decision in December, Jody Olson, chairman of the PERSI board for the past 20 years, said the board hasn't changed its position. "We've studied this matter for five months, and we believe our recommendation is appropriate. However, we fully appreciate that you're the plan sponsor. ... But our recommendation is the same."

The Legislature could act to overrule the board, but committee members overwhelmingly refused to. Those voting against HCR 42 were Reps. Eric Anderson, Max Black, Carlos Bilbao, Raul Labrador, Lynn Luker, Russ Mathews, Steve Kren, Erik Simpson, Mary Lou Shepherd, Elaine Smith, Anne Pasley-Stuart, Phylis King, and Elfreda Higgins. Those favoring the bill were Reps. Tom Loertscher, Bert Stevenson, Ken Andrus, Brent Crane and Joe Palmer.



Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.