Supreme Court to Rule October 20

From the Colorado Supreme Court’s website:

Supreme Court Case Announcements Future Case Announcements

The Colorado Supreme Court will release case announcements on Monday, October 20, 2014, no later than 10 a.m. No case decisions or opinions will be available prior to the posting of the case announcements on this website. Monday’s announcements will include the Opinions in the cases listed below. Click on the case to link to the ISSUES which were addressed during oral arguments.

2014 CO 75 – 12SC906, Justus v. The State of Colorado

The reference to our case is found about 1/3 of the way down the page with the date June 4.

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When we have read and digested the opinion we will release a statement.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Richard Allen and Gary Justus Save PERA COLA

Visit our website at

15 Responses to Supreme Court to Rule October 20

  1. nest says:

    I don’t understand what is going on don’t they get that the cost of living is getting out of hand. and how important this COLA is to the people who put in all those years of hard work and it should be no problem to give what was earned. they need to take a look at what they pay the people in high places, like the ones who make over 100,000 a year I know a person at the university who makes over 10,000 a month, and I make 3,000 a month, and I do much more work then him, I just don’t see the justification in that, I am having a hard time with what I have to live on, when I retire I don’t think I will even get that much, so it’s the same old story the rich get Richer
    the Poor get poorer, even more so working for the State………

  2. Stan Brown says:

    The state legislature is now free to continue to under fund PERA. Indeed, if there is a market correction, PERA would be under pressure by both political and corporate leaders to lower the goal of 100% funding over 30 years to a more reasonable goal of perhaps 80% funding over a longer time horizon of 40 to 60 years. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that retirees are not entitled to a COLA, the additional pension fund contributions required under SB10-1 will eventually be loosened, maybe as soon as next year, especially if PERA goes back to a lower funding goal over a longer time frame.

    There will be more attempts to undermine the retirement security of PERA members and retirees, even retroactively. The next retiree benefit on the hit list, perhaps next legislative session, is the PERAcare subsidy along with modifications to the Health Care Trust. There may be a legislative push, similar to the effort sponsored by the Independence Institute a couple years ago, to completely gut PERAcare.

  3. Stan Brown says:

    The Colorado Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals decision and went along with the Denver District Court. The guaranteed, fixed Annual Benefit Increase (ABI) has morphed into a zero to 2% gratuity … or at least until it gets completely taken away. One year the market can go up 15%, and the next year it can lose 1% … retirees will realize a total COLA of 2% or an average of 1%. Time for younger retirees to get back into the workforce. Older retirees may eventually end up on public assistance.

  4. Sue Clark Koenig says:

    As Barry indicated above, the Supreme Court judges are elected. I am holding my ballot until the decision comes out.

    • Kathleen Fisher says:

      JUSTICE HOBBS delivered the Opinion of the Court.
      JUSTICE COATS concurs in the judgment only.
      JUSTICE EID and JUSTICE MÁRQUEZ do not participate

  5. Herbert Clevenger says:

    The many meetings that I attended in Lamar before retirement I was informed not to worry about our COLA being reduced. They always quoted Ken Salazar’s that the COLA could be improved, but not reduced. I made my decision to retire in 2007 on that information. If we don’t have a COLA than I should of worked for another seven years until I had my full forty in.

  6. Norman Ivins says:

    I was also assured by a State Representative and CEA that the Yearly Benefit Increase was set in stone and backed by the General Assembly.

    • barrythorpe says:

      Right ! Not only were we all “assured”, we have it in writing. Furthermore, my district directly solicited retirement for those on the upper end of the salary schedule to save costs. They used the yearly benefit increase to sell the early retirement . There exists a verbal contract with the individual districts that has not even been addressed yet.
      I continue to be puzzled that no deposition by actual teachers was solicited as part of this case. Nobody would have accepted the early retirement scenario if they had knowledge that their contract was revocable. That’s not JUST breach of contract. It is fraud.

  7. Stan Brown says:

    This article came out yesterday. It looks like they’re calling PERA a “wild, shaggy beast” that needs to be tame. More pension claw back attempts ahead …

    The Unfair Retirement PERA-chute: New Group Pushes for Pension Reform

    “PERA is wild, shaggy beast that Colorado is eventually going to have to tame, like it or not. Hopefully we are beginning to see the first real steps toward that goal.”

    • Al Moncrief says:

      Hey Stan, the group’s webpage appears to be supported by the Independence Institute, a Libertarian Colorado think tank:

      The group “Colorado Succeeds” is a corporate group. Colorado corporations benefit from the Colorado’s annual diversion of billions of dollars of state and local revenues to corporate welfare.

      I see no suggestion that the Colorado Legislature put an end to the give-away of billions of dollars of public sector resources to corporations (see “Colorado Tax Expenditure Report”), in order to better fund public education, and actually meet state and local contractual pension obligations.

      From the education news site

      “The Colorado Pension Project supports many of the steps advocated by Jacobs, Kocon and Rotherham. The project is supported by the Anschutz, Donnell-Kay, Laura and John Arnold and Telluride foundations, and its membership include several organizations active in Denver education reform work.”

      Some material about the John Arnold Foundation:

      According to Texas AFT, John Arnold is funding “attacks” on public pensions across the United States:

      “ . . .the big-money man behind the attack on state and local pension funds, from California to Texas and beyond, is one John Arnold, a billionaire Houston hedge-fund operator who walked away from his role as an Enron trader with millions of dollars in bonuses before that notorious company went bankrupt.”


      The organization California Watch has reported on the John Arnold Foundation’s efforts in California:

      “A young Texas couple with a multibillion-dollar hedge fund fortune is bankrolling a series of reports by one of California’s most influential pension overhaul groups.”

      “The until-now secret $150,000 grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility is sure to fuel speculation about who might fund a brewing battle over California’s public pension system. Advocates of limiting pensions have been searching for a deep-pocketed donor to fund a multimillion-dollar ballot measure.”

      “Steven Maviglio, Democratic consultant and spokesman for the union-backed Californians for Retirement Security, criticized the report’s funding. ‘California voters have never taken kindly to out-of-state special interests or billionaires trying to influence our state’s public policy,’ he said. ‘Concerns about California’s pension system are best addressed by Californians, not Texans. We continue to believe that the best approach to address abuses in the pension system are through our elected representatives and the Legislature, and we are working hard to do just that.’”

      “McGee said the foundation is looking to fund other educational activities but is prohibited from funding overt political work like ballot initiatives.”

      “John Arnold once was renowned for his lucrative natural gas trading at Enron. He never was implicated in wrongdoing at the now-infamous company, but Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California once criticized him for allegedly refusing to answer, during a deposition, whether he had manipulated West Coast energy markets. A committee representing former Enron employees sued Arnold and other top traders for receiving huge bonuses, including $8 million for Arnold, right before Enron collapsed. Arnold and the committee settled on confidential terms, according to court records.”

      “But the Arnolds hired conservative political consultant Denis Calabrese as president of their foundation. Calabrese has written columns on the Republican Party’s best strategies for success, and his firm’s clients include Texans for Rick Perry and GOP megadonor Bob Perry.”

      “The foundation also recently hired Meredith Simonton, former executive director of the conservative Citizen Leader Alliance, as communications director.”

      “The foundation’s McGee said: ‘We’re interested in solutions, and I think that’s the key thing. Ideology doesn’t really come into it.’”


      Some questions for the Independence Institute:

      The Independence Institute is a libertarian think tank. Recognizing that Libertarians strongly support private property rights, why has the Independence Institute failed to speak out, or take a position in opposition to the taking of property (through breach of contract) from Colorado PERA annuitants by the Colorado Legislature and Colorado PERA in 2010?

      Is the Independence Institute interested in protecting only the private property rights of corporations and businesses, or the rights of all U.S. citizens, including currently disfavored public sector workers?

      The Independence Institute seeks smaller government. Is the Independence Institute willing to ignore the Contract Clause of the U.S. Constitution to achieve smaller government?

      Recognizing that the U.S. economy rests on the sanctity of contracts, how can the Independence Institute fail to condemn such a blatant and momentous breach of Colorado state contracts as occurred in SB10-001? Does the Independence Institute support Colorado’s constitutional Contract Clause?

      What are the funding sources for the Independence Institute? What portion of Independence Institute funding originates with corporations? Why can this information not be made public?

      Why does the Independence Institute fail to aggressively fight corporate welfare granted each year by the Colorado Legislature? (Corporate welfare “tax expenditures” of billions of dollars each year, more added at most recent legislative session.)

      Is the Independence Institute willing to sacrifice the contractual rights of a disfavored group (PERA pensioners) in order to permit Colorado legislators to continue funneling billions of dollars to businesses and corporations?

      Is the Independence Institute willing to support breach of public sector contracts if this results in lower overall tax burdens?

      Why has the Independence Institute failed to condemn the Colorado Legislature’s decade-long underpayment of Colorado PERA bills, that is, failure to pay each year the PERA pension system’s actuarially required contribution (as calculated by Colorado PERA’s actuaries)?

      Given that Colorado unfunded pension liabilities constitute debt (recognized in the language of TABOR) of the State of Colorado and Colorado local governments, why has the Independence Institute failed to condemn this underpayment of public pension required contributions?

    • barrythorpe says:

      Hyperbole……ala Beck,Limbaugh, Rosen, etc..A too transparent attempt to divide the current Public Employees from the Retirees. “Wild, Shaggy Beast ?”…nonsense ! Teacher salaries and the attendant pensions are pitifully low, given the job and responsibilities. Pensioners are tax payers, consumers, and purchasers of services. Wanna eliminate pensions ? Be careful what you ask for.

  8. Stan Brown says:

    Hope I’m wrong, but my political instincts tell me that release of the announcement ahead of the election does not bode well for retirees. I would think an announcement favorable to retirees would be released after the election.

    • barrythorpe says:

      Supreme Court …..they are appointed, not elected. They exist to interpret existing law and are expected to be,ideally, apolitical. They aren’t likely to overturn the earlier decision that we have a contract, and the argument about actuarial necessity has been destroyed. This anti-public employee pendulum is due to swing back. You can modify the contracts of future retirees, but you can’t retroactively take away deferred compensation already earned. This one seems clear, even if I were not an interested party, I’d have to predict a decision in favor of contract law…..If not, I certainly hope there are legislators ready to propose a fix for this in justice.

  9. Lynn Parson says:

    Before I retired in 2005, I talked with a representative of the state government who assured me that my yearly 3.5% COLA was safe. I I was blindsided by PERA’s decision to cut the COLA of its members just a few years later. It seems we retirees are taking the brunt of the punishment for the mismanagement of our funds. I don’t know why retirement organizations around the country haven’t sued the big banks that stole our money with impunity.

  10. Lawrence Crowley says:

    As a retired career teacher, I sure hope the cost of living adjustment remains part of my retirement package. Tough enough to live on my monthly payment with it, let alone without it.

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