News

Court: State can nix public pension increases

Court: State can nix public pension increases

Photo: clipart.com/Washington State Supreme Court

AP News

SEATTLE, Wash. –┬áThe Washington state Supreme Court says the Legislature has the right to repeal pension increases paid to state employees that were approved during the stock market boom of the late 1990’s.

In a separate ruling Thursday, the justices also said lawmakers had the authority to end uniform cost of living adjustments for certain state retirees.

Both decisions reversed lower court rulings.

Public sector unions had argued the state violated contractual obligations by revoking the pension hikes and cancelling the uniform cost of living payments.

The justices disagreed, saying that in both cases the Legislature reserved the right to repeal the benefits.

Opponents of the increased pension benefits had said if the Supreme Court upheld them it would have cost state billions of dollars in additional spending in future budget cycles.

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