State retirees get 3 percent pension boost

Teachers, corrections officers, and other state employees who haven’t seen a permanent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their retirement plans due to state budget cuts during the Great Recession will get one this summer.
Under a new law (House Bill 1390) that was approved earlier this year by the Legislature and signed in April by Governor Jay Inslee, the state will fund a 3 percent increase that will take effect July 1 for the state retirement system.
According to the Department of Retirement Systems, the pension program covers 198,755 retirees, beneficiaries and others who receive monthly payments, and 336,280 active employees who are working and contributing to the plans. Another 292,789 members have left state employment but haven’t started receiving payments. The numbers were current as of the end of 2019.
“This state has fantastic former teachers, school cafeteria workers, corrections officers, park maintenance staff, and social workers who worked hard and played by the rules. But due to the Great Recession, they have fallen behind and have had to make tough choices about what bills they can pay. That’s wrong and I am proud that this new law will give them a modest increase to help cover those monthly costs,” said state Rep. Mari Leavitt, who sponsored the funding measure.