AP says S.C. House poised to nix lawmakers’ pension COLA

The Associated Press is reporting that a majority of the subcommittee in whose lap the legislator-pension increase was dumped are saying they want to kill the measure:

{Associated Press Writer}=
   COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina lawmakers are expected to scrap plans to sweeten pension checks for legislators when they meet Tuesday, according to members of the subcommittee debating the increases.
   "This year, we’re not doing employees very good in their regular pay. I don’t see this as a year to be raising ours," Rep. Herb Kirsh said Monday. Three other lawmakers on the five-member House Ways and Means Panel said they also want the pension boost nixed.
   Two weeks ago, the full House gave initial approval to legislation that would add a 2 percent cost of living adjustment for lawmakers’ pensions. The vote came the same day the Senate’s budget-writing committee scuttled raises for state workers in its $7 billion spending plan for next year because of slumping tax collections. The seemingly conflicting moves drew a rebuke from Gov. Mark Sanford and, in an unusual move, the pension boost was sent back to the House Ways and Means Committee the following day.
   Kirsh, who is one of 333 current and former legislators already drawing a retirement check from the system, said he estimated the proposed increase would have added about $6 monthly to the nearly $32,000 annually he gets from the system.
   "We’ve got a pretty good retirement now," said Kirsh, a 78-year-old Democrat from Clover.
   Republican Reps. Jay Lucas, of Hartsville; Chip Limehouse, of Charleston; and Brian White, of Anderson, all said they also opposed the pension boost. Limehouse said he first thought the legislation only offered state employee raises.
   "No matter how woefully underpaid we may be, it’s easier just not to have all the controversy," Limehouse said.
   The pension proposal "sends a horrible message in a terrible budget year. I think the retirement the General Assembly gets is fair, to be honest with," Lucas said.
   Kirsh also said Rep. Denny Neilson, the subcommittee’s chairwoman, also was backing him. She did not immediately return a message Monday.
   Eliminating the legislative retirement increase still won’t address a key concern Sanford raised.
   Sanford said the cost of living adjustment for the rest of the state’s retirees ignores serious problems with the retirement system because it is tied to changing assumptions about how much investments will grow in the state’s retirement system.
   Sanford two weeks ago said he is "not willing to stake our retirees’ benefits and our taxpayers’ futures on the hope that this bill’s predictions come true, and I’d urge the House not to either."

Here’s hoping Dav has it right.

1 thought on “AP says S.C. House poised to nix lawmakers’ pension COLA

  1. slugger

    I have been waiting for someone to post a comment. Never wanting to be first but here goes.
    We elect represtatives to the state legislature to take care of the people that elect them to office.
    Give the elected representatives enough time and they are due financial compensation for being elected to represent you (or so they think).
    Thank you Rep. Kirsh. The state elected officials want to become like the federal elected officials and that is all about voting money into the pockets of the elected. After they become the elected, they vote to reward themselves a retirement package that might exceed corporate America.
    The elected become the rewarded instead of the savior.


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