Florida has over 1.6 million veterans, the largest population of veterans, percentage wise, in the nation. Florida is home to twenty-one active military bases. Any Congressional action impacting Florida’s veterans or the US military impacts Florida’s economy. It appears the Murray-Ryan Budget will negatively impact Florida’s veterans, their families and orphaned children. The budget deal will also harm Florida’s fragile economy.
In her column “Diet COLA: Murray-Ryan Budget Targets Military Retirees“, Julie Gillette writes, “On Wednesday, I received an email from the Air Force Sergeant’s Association (AFSA) CEO and in response posted this statement on my Facebook page: “Air Force Sergeant’s Association posted Paul Ryan proposed a cut of 1% in military retiree COLA pay each year until the retiree reaches 62. So, for me, that would be a 16% cut. I have never taken welfare or any other handout. All of my retirement is taken in taxes already. I’m interested to hear how much was slashed from the handout programs that didn’t require the recipients to give at least 20 years of their lives.” I received several requests to do an article and given the serious nature of this budget proposal and its devastating impact on all the military retirees that have served honorably and live on fixed incomes, I felt the need to heed that call.”
Gillette notes, “The Bipartisan Budget Act passed by the House on December 12, 2013, is the one put together behind closed doors by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan that will cut the retiree benefits effective 2015 with no grandfathered clause. Under their proposal, each year a retiree will lose 1% of the adjusted Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), an amount calculated to keep up with the Consumer Price Index, until the age of 62. At that time, COLA would be readjusted to the current level.”
The following bullet points were taken directly from the House website:
- We make sensible reforms for civilian and military retirement programs.
- On the civilian side, we ask future retirees to contribute a little bit more — still well below what’s common for state and local government employees—so taxpayers don’t have to pick up the entire tab.
- And for younger military retirees, we trim their cost-of-living adjustment just a bit. It’s a modest reform for working-age military retirees.
ABOUT JULIE GILLETTE
Julie Gillette is a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant and disabled veteran currently living in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is active in Alaska state politics.