(The Center Square) – Retired Georgia state employees have started receiving a 1.5% cost-of-living adjustment with their monthly benefit payment, which state lawmakers say is necessary in a context of rising inflation.
Passing the state’s $30.2 billion for fiscal year 2023 budget with House Bill 911Georgian legislators assigned $119.6 million to increase the employer contribution rate to several pension plans. The spending plan represented an increase of approximately 10.8% over last year’s budget.
In addition to the COLA for the employee retirement system, lawmakers increased the 401(k) match to 9% for members of the Georgia State Employees Retirement and Savings Plan. They also funded the employer’s share of accrued vacation losses for retiring employees.
“This increase is an important step in honoring our commitment to care for our retired state employees,” State Rep. John Carson, R-Marietta, chairman of the House Retirement Committee, said in a statement. “Retired state employees are squeezed by record inflation rates caused by the [President Joe] Biden administration spending, and this increase will begin to help real Georgians across our state.”
Lawmakers have already provided one-time benefit adjustments for state pensioners. According to Carson, the last “real” COLA for ERS members was included in the fiscal year 2009 budget.
The legislator said that future COLAs for ERS members would depend on the returns on investment and the funding ratio of the system. The COLA can vary from zero to 3%.
The COLA increase began on Friday.