Crash, downed lines close section of Route 74

EDITORIAL: COLA clause hurts retirees

The York Dispatch

Ask any senior on a fixed income and they'll probably agree that every little bit helps.

Unfortunately, a state law that appears intended to ensure county pensioners never miss a cost-of-living increase has had the effect of denying them raises year after year.

That's certainly how it's working out here in York County, where the retirement board has again decided not to increase 1,100 former employees' pensions next year.

York retirees get no COLA increase

County Controller Robb Green cited the state law that mandates any increase for the pensioners be retroactive to the last time they received a raise.

In York County, that was in 2008.

To provide retirees with a modest increase in 2016 and make it retroactive eight years would cost the county $11.3 million, Green said, echoing the reason he gave last year for denying raises.

County Commissioner Chris Reilly said last year a bump for the small group of pensioners would have required a tax increase for all residents.

We understand the county officials' positions. But come on — are the retirees never going see a cost-of-living increase?

If York County can't afford it now because of the retroactive clause, we don't see how it will be able to a year from now, or five years or 10 years.

The solution seems obvious. Remove the offending, if well-intentional, clause.

House Bill 239 would do just that, allowing counties to grant increases without having to make up for missed years.

The bill received bipartisan support, easily clearing the House and Senate, and landed on the governor's desk Tuesday.

We hope Gov. Tom Wolf quickly signs it, although it will be too late for the pensioners in 2016.

Too bad the lawmakers didn't make the bill retroactive.