Rep. Dick Muri pushes for retired teachers to get COLA increase

With the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council reporting the General Fund-State revenue forecast is increased by $647 million for the 2017-19 budget cycle, Rep. Dick Muri took action Friday to fund a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Washington state’s retired teachers.

Muri, R-Steilacoom, offered the amendment during floor debate on the House supplemental operating budget. The lawmaker’s proposal would have provided a one-time 3 percent COLA increase to the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS 1) and Teachers Retirement System (TRS Plan 1) member’s monthly benefits.

Muri says its time for the state to provide retired teachers with this inflation-fighting benefit.

“For the past several years, retired teachers in Washington state have not been given a cost of living adjustment. Increasingly, retired teachers are faced with difficult financial decisions. Most of these folks are 65 years or older. Their cost of living is going up, but not their pensions.

“This is a sad situation, and frankly, unacceptable in light of the new revenue coming into our state. Social security, military retirees and many others all get these adjustments, but not our teachers.

“Let’s be clear, this is not a pay increase. It’s a way to help offset the adverse effects of standard monetary inflation created by our Federal Reserve printing too much money. It was truly disappointing to see this amendment defeated. We need to do better for Washington state’s retired teachers.”

Muri’s amendment was defeated on a party-line vote, 47-50-1.


Washington State House Republican Communications