STATE HOUSE - Rep. Michael Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Coventry, Foster, Glocester) has submitted legislation that would halt payment of Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLAs) to state legislators unless adjustments also were being paid to retired state workers.
The legislation would also require that state legislator’s COLAs be no higher than those of retired state workers.
“In 2011 the General Assembly passed sweeping legislation that reformed our state’s pension system, and part of those changes included a suspension of COLAs for retired state workers.
“In the spirit of fairness, I believe all legislators should embrace the same level of integrity by declining annual COLAs until such time that the pension system is stabilized and COLAs are once again provided to retirees,” Representative Chippendale said.
Chippendale, a Republican, has refused any increase in his legislative compensation since taking office in 2010.
Cost of Living Adjustments for legislators are provided for in the Rhode Island State Constitution and cannot be simply “legislated away.” Representative Chippendale has submitted legislation (2013-H5089) with bi-partisan support that would allow a vote on legislative COLAs by voters on the 2014 ballot. If passed, legislative COLAs could be provided only if such cost adjustments are paid to state retirees generally.
State Legislators will typically $14,639 in 2013-1024, and COLA elimination for all legislators would save some $50,000 annually.
“This isn’t going to save the state a material amount of money, but that isn’t why I’m doing this. It is an expression of fairness to the retirees in RI, and also to demonstrate that the legislature receives no preference in sharing the burden of stabilizing our pension system," he said.
For more information, contact:
Chuck Newton, House Minority Office
State House Room 106
Providence, RI 02903
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