One of the most overlooked stories by the Alabama media these days is the fact that our retired teachers are suffering since they have received no Cost of Living (COLA) raise in more than 13 years! One might wonder how this could be when press releases tout the billions of the Retirement Systems of Alabama invested all over the nation-including a downtown New York City skyscraper. Reality is reality, however!

Retirement Systems of Alabama is the largest financial conglomeration of its type in the state and widely reported as being run exclusively by David Bronner. As stated in RSA records, funding has fallen consistently for the past 11 years and trailed the national average of comparable funds in other states for the past 7 years. Recent audited figures of the Retired Teacher System {RTS} revealed that only 67.5% of required funds to meet obligations for the next decade exists. In other words, for every dollar needed to pay retired teachers, only 67.5 cents is available!

To further add to the issue, RSA performance in Investment Strategy and Return on Investment (ROI) has been plagued by issues in the past two decades. Actuarial projections over that period seriously miscalculated ROI using strategic models based on current economic factors that were grossly overstated in today’s markets. Additionally, significant misjudgments were made in investing in WordCom, Enron and USAirways then failed spectacularly.

Retired teachers are critically overdue for a cost of living adjustment since none have been granted in more than 13 years-regardless of the financial health of the RSA! In a written statement dated July 23, 2019, RSA disclosed, “All raises, including cost of living adjustments, must be approved by the state legislature. There is no set schedule, fixed date or plan for such action.” Alabama taxpayers through the Legislature are obligated by law to cover any shortfalls in funding for state retirees. Simply stated, our legislature is failing miserably in its obligation to our retired teachers! Just do your job you were elected to do!

James W. Anderson