This letter is in regard to retirees getting COLAs, as outlined in Lynn Pike’s recent letter. I retired in 1995. With all my leave added up, I had 32 years’ service.

We state employees who have retired paid into the retirement system. We cannot get Social Security because when we went to work, we weren’t allowed to.

Our money was invested by the people who were elected to invest our money. The retirement system board invested very wisely. Before our present governor was elected and took office, any amount earned over a certain amount was how we got raises, not taking public money. State retirees were paying for their own raises — and still are.

Our present governor, when first elected, made it well known through his words he was going to be the state employees’ worst nightmare. He was going to privatize the state system. He’d do as much as he could to get rid of as many state employees as he could.

I repeat — no state employees’ COLAs have been paid by “taxpayers’ money,” but paid with money state employees have paid into their own retirement system. No public funds. When our present governor took office, the state employees’ retirement fund, paid with state employees’ own money, plus money from investments, amounted to $500 million.

During the last eight years, I have received two raises and lost over $100 per month in real dollars. On my last raise, the gross was $24.00 Because every time the Legislature wanted to do something they did not have the money, where would they go? State retirement money — not public taxpayers’ money.

Even our state treasurer John Kennedy said the same thing months and months ago. It was not due to bad investments. Now the state employees’ retirement fund has half of what it had eight years ago.

I wanted to set the record straight about COLA and retired state employees and raises.

Sandra Eccles

retired state employee

Baton Rouge