Cliff Hamm


As the pension advisory group winds down, a recommendation will be forthcoming. If the recommendation is based only on financials the COLA will not be restored. If it is based on ethics it will be. I have written to many of the state leaders and General Assembly members. Invariably the response is - they are waiting for the PAWG recommendation. The power to make right what was wrongfully taken away is in your hands.

Where did the savings from the COLA go? Funding of the Studio 38 debacle? The current soccer stadium debacle? Exorbitant hedge fund fees? Various new programs to attract votes? Etc. etc. The state of Rhode Island will always find something else to spend it on. Currently there is a proposal for a state archives, baby bonds, free lunch for everyone no matter what your income. Yet there is no money supposedly for the restoration of the COLA.

We paid almost 10% of our salary every year for a promise of a 3% compounded COLA.

That promise was broken 12 years ago. One simply cannot have faith that the General Assembly will restore it without a strong recommendation from the PAWG.

It was somewhat doable when inflation was mild. It no longer is. Just today it was announced that January wholesale prices increased more than expected. How does one survive on a fixed income in these inflationary times? We thought we would have a secure financial future when we retired, than it was taken away. It has caused much emotional and financial stress.

Please do the right thing and recommend the restoration of the promised 3% compounded COLA on the entire pension amount. The General Assembly will not act without your strong support. Thousands of retirees are counting on you for their survival.

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