Apr. 21, 2015

HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives today passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock) that would remove the requirement that any cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) be made retroactive to the last COLA. By removing this mandate, House Bill 239 aims to protect taxpayers from excessive tax increases and reinforce local control of county pension boards.

Under current Pennsylvania law, any COLA granted by a county pension board has to be retroactive to the last COLA granted by that same board. Depending on the time between COLAs, this provision in the law can lead to significant tax increases to taxpayers. For instance, if a county pension board granted a COLA in 2000 and did not grant a second COLA until 2015, the second COLA would have to be retroactive 15 years to the first COLA, drastically increasing costs to county governments and taxpayers.

“Pennsylvania’s current County Pension Law places county commissioners and officials in a difficult position as either they raise taxes to cover the cost of COLAs or leave retirees years in between COLAs,” Greiner said. “My bill removes the state mandate that COLAs be retroactive and would protect taxpayers by ensuring that counties are properly managing their pension funds before considering any adjustments.”

House Bill 239 was amended to include language that sets a minimum pension system funding threshold above which counties may grant a COLA.  This would provide additional protection to taxpayers by ensuring that pension plans are responsibly funded before a COLA adjustment can be considered.

The House unanimously passed House Bill 239. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Keith J. Greiner, CPA
43rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Jonathan Anzur
RepGreiner.com / Facebook.com/RepGreiner