Washington State House Democrats


Senate is the next stop for Timmons bill that provides a cost-of-living increase to retirees

OLYMPIA—The last several years with high inflation have been difficult for many people, but especially for seniors living on fixed incomes.  

“I’m concerned about how rising costs impact our retirees,” said Rep. Joe Timmons (D-Bellingham), who introduced House Bill 1985 before the start of this year’s legislative session. “HB 1985 provides a 3 percent cost-of-living (COLA) increase, up to $110 per month, to those who dedicated their careers to public service and are on the state’s public employees’ retirement system (PERS1) or teachers’ retirement system (TRS1).”  

HB 1985 passed off the House floor unanimously today with a vote of 97-0.  

“Our retired educators and public servants have given so much to the people of this great state, and HB 1985 will make a tangible difference in their lives, making it easier to afford basic goods and services and to age with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Timmons.  

“In my first year as a legislator, I saw the difficulties our seniors face, and that’s also why I introduced House Bill 1431, which passed last year and did away with charging sales tax on prepared meals for tenants at senior living communities. I am proud that HB 1985 builds upon this work to support our seniors” added Timmons.  

Unlike other state pension plans, PERS1 and TRS1 do not assume an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Between 1995 and 2011, PERS1 and TERS1 retirees were eligible for an annual increase from a benefit known as the Uniform COLA, which included an additional 3 percent increase annually until it was repealed in 2011.  Since 2011, there have only been four Plan 1 benefit increases.  

HB 1985 now moves to the Senate for further consideration. This year’s 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on March 7.