Wednesday, November 28, 2012

RH Jones: State of Washington judge rules retirees' COLA retraction illegal

From RH Jones, November 27, 2012
To all:
State of Washington judge rules retirees' COLA retraction illegal
(11/20/2012) The National Association of State Retirement Association (NASRA) “News Clips” reports that the in the Olympian that: “Washington state judge rules against retraction of COLAs for existing retirees".
A judge has ruled that the legislature acted illegally last year when it eliminated an annual increase in benefits to retirees in two older state pension plans. The eventual hit to the budget could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars per year starting with the current 2011-2013 budget and force new cuts, taxes or other budget moves.”
Here in Ohio, the legislature over the last several years has neglected the Ohio Constitution’s requirement of an adequately funded public school system. The Ohio Legislature, the STRS, and the Ohio teacher unions being part of the total package, have possibly opened themselves up to a similar court ruling due to the retraction of the COLA Ohio’s existing retired teachers. The Ohio legislature, therefore, needs to act quickly to reinstate the COLA, the spouse benefits, and any other retraction of retiree benefits that may be illegal. Due to the compounding interest of any of these judicial awards, to wait for a state or federal judge to reinstate these retractions, may be even more punishing for the State of Ohio.
Personally, as an elderly Ohio STRS retired teacher annuitant, I cannot applaud or be happy about the retractions made to current retired STRS members. From the numerous news media pictures the Ohio teacher unions, both active and retired, seem to be happily in collusion with the legislature in this not-so-honorable course of action in retracting retired teachers' promised benefits. Who among them had the moral courage to stand alone? I would like to know so that I can vote for that person in our unions, as well as in the legislature.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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