Lawmakers turn down pension check increase for retired state workers, public school teachers

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — An effort to give retired state employees and teachers a cost-of-living increase in their pension checks has stalled.

The House Retirement Committee deadlocked in a 6-6 vote Thursday on the proposal by Rep. Sam Jones, a Democrat from Franklin, effectively killing the 1.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment.

Jones described escalating expenses for retirees, particularly double-digit increases in the state health insurance program.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration opposed the pension hike.

Ben Huxen, with the Division of Administration, said the bill would violate a law enacted last year to strengthen retirement plan finances. He said it could weaken Louisiana's standing with credit rating agencies.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1AmXcgv ) the $350 million cost would have come from the retirement systems' excess investment earnings, earmarked for cost-of-living increases.


Online:

House Bill 42: http://www.legis.la.gov

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