Vote-counters say the House will make it official next week: It will approve a "cost avoidance" plan that would shave millions of dollars each year -- every year -- from pension increases due federal, postal and military retirees.
Debate resumes Tuesday on money-saving cutbacks recommended by the House Budget Committee. Of overriding interest to the 500,000-member federal-military-retiree community here is the plan to stop giving government retirees cost-of-living raises every six months. Instead they would a single annual adjustment.
Putting retirees on the annual cycle would cut about $1 per day (at the current rate of inflation) from future pension raises for the typical retired civil servant. They would get slightly smaller raises (because of the loss of compounding) and less frequent increases.
Government and military retirees now get a COL adjustment each March and September. Last month's raise was 6 percent. The September 1980 raise will be 6.9 percent. If Congress approves the COL cutback this year retirees would not get the fall increase due them.
The Budget Committee says a single COL adjustment each year (it favors July) would save nearly $1 billion next year, and millions thereafter. The Carter administration favors the plan and has proposed its own legislation, which would put the annual adjustments each March. Social Security benefits are already under the once-a-year COL system.That raise, which is tax free unlike federal pensions, will be 14.3 percent this July.
Although federal and postal workers are fighting mad at the proposed COL cutback, Congress is in the mood to do it. The Senate Budget Committee has already approved a similar one-per-year raise plan.
How Angry Are They . . .? More than 15,000 people mailed in ballots, or letters, last week opposing the COL cutback and mandatory Social Security for federal workers. The letters are still coming in.
Tune in to Sunday's column for the latest count, and some reader comments on what they think of politicians who are supporting annunity cutbacks.