MEA Fights For Retirees' Ad Hoc COLA
The Governor’s supplemental budget includes a cut to what’s called the ad hoc COLA. This payment is a one time a year check retired educators receive which totals no more than $300. The COLA was put into place when the legislature approved drastic cuts to the pension system in 2011.
With those changes, the Governor eliminated retiree COLA for three years, meaning state retirees will not see any increase in their pension checks despite the increase in inflation. “The retired educators in Maine already paid the price, and gave so much to Maine. This is not the time to take more,” said Lois Kilby-Chesley, teacher and President of the Maine Education Association.
The elimination of the COLA reduces their buying power, forcing our state’s retirees to make choices no one wants to make.
"My mother is a retired teacher in Maine. She barely made enough money to support our family when I was a child let alone try and save for retirement. What happens if we take even more away from retirees? Some already choose food over heat. Taking more of retirees’ pensions means people like my mother will have to turn back their heat even more than they already do. My mother tells me she likes the house cool but I know the truth. She is too proud, like many Mainers, to ask for help. So instead, my mother who worked her whole life to educate Maine’s children is left literally in the cold as the Governor makes cuts without thinking about the faces of those affected. The question we should all ask ourselves now: Is this the kind of life we want for our parents or for ourselves when we retire?” said Kilby-Chesley.