Retired Employees Ask Judge to Block Pension Cuts

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Retired state and local government employees are asking a Montana judge to block reductions to the annual cost-of-living raises in their pensions.

A pension overhaul measure passed by the Legislature this year cut retired public employees’ annual inflationary increases from 3 percent to 1.5 percent. An additional trigger lowers that to 1 percent on Jan. 1.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports that attorneys for the retirees appeared Thursday to request a preliminary injunction from District Judge James Reynolds.

The retirees say the move is an unconstitutional reduction of their benefits.

Assistant Attorney General Mike Black says the Legislature has the right to reduce cost-of-living increases when necessary.

Retired teachers have filed a separate lawsuit against similar reductions to their pension increases.

District Judge Mike Menahan has not yet ruled in that case.

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