Letters to the Editor

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STATE BUDGET: Don’t dump retirees’ COLAs

Letter by Susan Kunkel, Tacoma on March 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm with No Comments »
March 29, 2011 9:05 am

Re: “Lawmakers eye retirees’ cost-of-living increases” (TNT, 3-27).

While the article about eliminating cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for state retirees was fairly comprehensive, some key elements were not explored fully.

As a state retiree, I will receive no COLA for more than 15 years. As other employees’ salaries will likely increase over that time, my monthly retirement amount will languish with what will likely be the soon-to-be-broken promise of an eventual increase at age 66 1/2. As others’ salaries may keep pace with inflation, my buying power is degraded.

State administrators and legislators have failed to make regular deposits to our pension system. Now they hope to wipe away their failure on the backs of oft-maligned public employees.

Public servants are the backbone of the Pierce County economy. Take away livable wages for this group, and the whole economy suffers.

I urge Olympia to meet the terms of their agreement with public employees. I would willingly pay a small income tax with my COLA (if I get it in another 11 years) to fund our retirement system and other vital programs for at-risk populations.

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