PERA Bills Already a Focus in 2024

The 2024 Legislature was officially called into session on January 10th and will continue until the second week of May. We exepct several PERA-related bills, including a tax credit aimed to help PERA retirees. Here is a brief overview of a few key PERA bills introduced so far.

Support for PERA Retirees
SB24-044 – this bill creates a tax credit for certain retired public employees in Colorado. To qualify, retirees would have to be a Colorado resident aged 65 or older by the end of 2024 or 2025, and have an annual incomeno more than $38,000 if retirees file taxes individually, or $76,000 if you file jointly. This legislation is an effort by lawmakers to assist our lowest income retirees during these high inflationary times. Similar legislation, which was supported more retirees, failed to pass last year. This year’s attempt is more targeted, costs less and will take a lot of advocacy to see it through.

We know this bill is no substitute for efforts to increase the COLA for all retirees. We have heard from many retirees about the hardships and challenges they have faced as they have seen their COLA decrease over the past decade and a half from 3.5% to the 1% today. To increase the COLA, even for just one year, is a hefty pricetag. Below are three scenarios discussed at the Pension Review Subcommittee this summer and the estimated costs.

  • Increasing the COLA to 2% for one year (dropping back to 1% after that) – approximately $52 million
  • Increasing the COLA to 2% for one year (droping back to 1% after that, but allowing for compounding value) – approximately $580 million to $620 million
  • Increasing the COLA to 2% and allowing it to remain at that threshold- approximatey $6.5 billion to $7 billion

These costs are daunting, but Secure PERA will continue to advocate for efforts to increase funding for PERA so we can restore the benefits reduced by SB18-200.

Working After Retirement
HB24-1044– Current law states that school districts can designate up to 10 retirees to work a maximum of 140 days, or 960 hours, per calendar year without losing their PERA benefits. HB24-1044 would allow school districts with numbers above 10,000 to hire an additional service retiree per 1,000 students with no risk to their PERA benefits. School districts with 10,000 students or less will still be allowed to hire 10 service retirees.

SB24-099 – Currently, retired public employees who receive retirement benefits from PERA can only work for a PERA employer for a limited time without their retirement benefits being reduced. However, based on their needs, rural school districts can hire retired teachers, bus drivers, cooks, nurses, and paraprofessionals without reducing their retirement benefits, regardless of how long they work in a calendar year. SB24-099 would amend the current law, allowing school districts to hire superintendents and principals as well. It also clarifies that the exemption for rural school districts applies to small rural districts with fewer than 1,000 students in the previous budget year.