Bills for pay increase, retiree COLA move ahead in General Assembly

Apr 07, 2017

SEANC retirees showed up in force once again this week to advocate for House Bill 497, which would grant a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the upcoming budget.

On Wednesday, SEANC Retiree Council Chairman Benny Brigman and SEANC Government Relations Director Ardis Watkins made SEANC’s case for the COLA to the House Pensions and Retirement Committee. The committee gave a unanimous favorable report to the bill. It will now have to pass the House Appropriations Committee before it can go to the full house for a vote.

SEANC is also working hard to shepherd House Bill 540 to a vote. This bill would give active state employees and teachers a much-needed $2,400 pay increase this year. This common-sense compensation plan is gaining steam as well, with the media taking note.

SEANC’s Government Relations team has more on these and other topics in this week’s Legislative Update video above.

Folwell gaining national recognition for fighting for retirees

The national media is taking note of State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s plans to reduce huge fees paid to Wall Street with the state retirement system. Bloomberg Businessweek released a story today noting that the system paid more than $600 million in fees last year, seven times more per dollar than it did in 2000.

Folwell has already cut ties with six managers that handled around $3 billion of the $90 billion fund, but faces an uphill climb to move more of it because of long-term contracts signed by his predecessors.

SEANC Government Relations was quoted in the story on why EMPAC, SEANC’s political arm, chose to endorse Folwell, saying, “He doesn’t carry water for his party,” she said.

The story also includes some insight into the alternative investments the fund owns, including Folwell’s statement that state retirees own “$900 million worth of timber,” as well as heating oil, bushels of wheat and more.

Retirees needed once again Tuesday!

House Bill 103, which would eliminate state income tax on the earned retirement benefits of military, federal, state and local government retirees, will be heard by the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, and SEANC needs all retired members to come out and show their support.

The committee meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in Room 544 of the Legislative Office Building, located at 300 N. Salisbury St. in Raleigh. Directions and parking information can be found here.   

The bill would extend the Bailey Settlement, which exempts those who were vested before Aug. 12, 1989 from paying state income tax on retirement benefits. The 4th Branch, an affiliated group of associations like SEANC, advocates extending that benefit to all federal, state and military retirees.