Court Supports Lowering COLAs for COPERA Members

June 30, 2011 ( - A Denver district judge has thrown out a lawsuit challenging legislation that lowers cost-of-living increases for members of the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association.

The Denver Post reports that a group of retirees sued, alleging the state had abrogated a contract by lowering the inflationary increases.

However, District Judge Robert Hyatt disagreed. “While plaintiffs unarguably have a contractual right to their PERA pension itself,” Hyatt wrote, according to the Post, “they do not have a contractual right to the specific COLA formula in place at their respective retirement, for life without change.”

The news report said lawmakers passed a bill that sought to address the long-term financial solvency of PERA, in part by capping annual cost-of-living increases that had been at as much as 3.5% to 2%.   

PERA covers more than 400,000 public employees ranging from teachers to state troopers.