Retirement insights from a Colorado PERA perspective

Legislation & Governance

PERA Receives Clean Audit at Legislative Audit Committee Hearing

A daytime view of the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver
Photo credit: Steve Gadomski/Getty Images

While Colorado’s 2022 legislative ended in May, PERA executives, staff, and consultants continue to meet with lawmakers and various legislative oversight committees in the interim.

The meetings are part of the regular review and oversight of PERA that takes place every year.

An important part of that oversight process is the Legislative Audit Committee, which met on August 9. At that meeting, PERA executives joined representatives from PERA’s actuarial consultant, Segal, and an outside auditor to discuss PERA’s financial status and answer questions from committee members.

An audio recording of the meeting is available online here.

Results of outside audit

Every year, the state hires an independent auditor to audit PERA’s financial data and internal controls. CliftonLarsonAllen, which has been auditing PERA’s financial reports since 2015, presented its audit of the 2021 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report. The auditors gave the report a clean audit with no significant issues.

A summary of the 2021 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report is available here.

Ongoing oversight at the Capitol

In recent weeks, PERA has also appeared before the Pension Review Subcommittee and Pension Review Commission, which are responsible for overseeing PERA operations and recommending legislation that affects PERA.

The Pension Review Subcommittee and Pension Review Commission will continue to meet throughout the summer and fall, and PERA On The Issues will keep track of any potential new legislation that arises from those meetings.

PERA also reports to the Joint Budget Committee and the Joint Finance Committee.

These regular meetings allow policymakers to learn more about PERA’s financial footing and ask questions of PERA management, ensuring robust oversight and transparency.


  1. Laurie Edwards says:

    where want to say I have had tons of trouble with united healthcare Dealing with mainly the last issue when I had fallen and broken my hip.
    Z from trying to cut my g]hospital days post surgery, to accepting my rehab facility,((4 times confirming) to my friend who is a lawyer,
    To initially refusing to continue covering care in a facility where I had contacted Covid) I had tested negative in this less homeless rehab.
    just as I was being discharged I’d asked for Covid again, and it was positive.
    have many other examples of problems.

  2. Kim lack says:

    Why is no one asking the general assembly to give us retirees a better cost of living raise to help with the inflation we also get hit with

    • Jeff says:

      So ironic that they never give an answer on this issue! Come on PERA on the Issues. At least give us some line of bs of why you won’t address it!

      • PERA On The Issues says:

        We certainly understand the impact inflation is having on retirees and others. The amount of PERA’s Annual Increase (AI) is set in statute and is not tied to inflation. Rather, it adjusts up or down based on PERA’s funding progress, along with member and employer contributions. These provisions are part of Senate Bill 200, passed in 2018, which ensures that PERA reaches full funding by the end of 2047. We know these changes are not easy, but they’re vital to helping us reach that funding goal and ensuring our retirees and members can continue to count on PERA to provide them with monthly income in retirement they cannot outlive.

        • Barry says:

          “Ensuring a pension they cannot outlive”….What good is a pension that you can’t outlive if you cant live ON it?! If it doesn’t keep up with the cost of living, it stops being a ‘pension’ at all. It becomes a token payment, bearing no resemblance to a sustaining, earned, deferred income. An investment of our own money that was taken from each paltry paycheck, with the good faith expectation of being a living benefit in deferred payment for years of public service.
          The excuse of being “set in statute “ rings hollow, as it begs the question, why not work to change the statute?? It was easy to strip away the annual increase, where is the advocacy from our “retirement association” to fix this failure?

        • Paul says:

          Once again PERA issues a reply hiding behind the fact the Annual Increase is set in statute. As usual you left out the part about PERA supporting every piece of legislation that reduced the Annual Increases to where they are now, including Senate Bill 200 that you shepherded through the legislature in 2018. How about getting behind your members’ requests to promote legislation that would establish a true COLA funded by the State of Colorado and not the retirees with the same conviction and effort that you put into gutting the AI?

        • Fred+Boettcher says:

          They are not “changes.” They are broken promises.

          • Barry says:

            I hear you Fred, but I believe broken “promises “ is far too kind and makes it sound like a personal promise, when in fact it is a broken Contract. A breach of a standing legal agreement that I, and many others entered into at retirement.
            Knowing that living on 75% of one’s already low salary could not be sustained over time, but calculating the value of a compounded 3.5% annual increase, it made sense. The School District also pushed this feature , as they were eager to retire older teachers and hire new, younger ( and less costly) staff.
            My School administration sent a memo near the end of the year I was as considering retirement, saying that I must reply by the end of the day, or they will suspend the district’s offer to allow them to teach 1 additional “transition “ year, which was long-established practice. In the transition year, the teacher could begin receiving PERA, and still make a district salary. They threatened to disallow that if we chose not to retire….. I had already decided to retire, but the pressure to answer in 6 hours probably caught many off guard, and seemed pretty suspicious… still does.
            This won’t be made right until PERA re-instates the conditions in place at the time of retirement. It is perfectly acceptable to make changes as needed going on into the future, but PERA and Legislature reneged on a clearly understood benefit, and took deferred income from those already retired under conditions in place.

  3. Kim lack says:

    Who can we go to , to ask for a bigger cost of living to help us keep up with inflation like everyone else is getting?

  4. Cammie Arneson says:

    As retirees we are paying higher costs for pharmaceuticals, at the grocery store as well as other expenses. We need an applicable cost of living increase.

  5. judy marquez says:

    I agree that we need a review of our cost of living. The amount I received in July covered one tank of gas!

  6. Coquitos says:

    We need a cost of living upgrade, a big one, to help us with inflation.

  7. Sally Specht says:

    Not happy with United health care. I has been such a hassle to switch. Had jump through many hoops to finally get the tests approved for surgery. Why the change?

  8. Linda S-M says:

    I’m having to jump thru hoops to get medications that are higher priced covered. Our Pharmaceutical company that we have now makes my doctor call each month, for the same medicine, and then makes the pharmacy called my insurance company to get it approved. Crazy because nothing changes each month ?‍♀️

  9. Steve Howard says:

    I would suggest to those PERA retirees, who also worked “alot” for Social Security-covered employers (second jobs, self-employed, where we PAID for Social Security) that, in my opinion, now is the time to contact your U.S. Congressman and our two US Senators. Only one aide for Hickenlooper has asked me for add’l information RE: GOP/WEP. Neguese and Bennett are no shows, in terms of responding to my request for help. Keep trying, please.

  10. Chuck G says:

    SB18-200 will burn PERA retirees to the ground with this higher inflation!!
    This is made possible by the 2014 Colorado Supreme Court. Despicable!!
    The law, SB18-200, would have to be changed to reinstate CPI based COLAs.

    I have been doing my part to contact my state reps and others. But I am only one.
    Political pressure is the only way.

    A PERA public pension has to pay an annual COLA (CPI based) because public
    workers traditionally were/are exempt from social security, like my wife,
    a retired career DPS teacher.

    When my wife retired in 2014, PERA Law stated the annual COLA as part of the
    pension contract with retirees. Due to the October 2014 Colorado Supreme Court,
    state lawmakers have been given a license to steal from retirees and all but get
    rid of COLAs. My wife suffered from detrimental reliance in this contract breach.

    Quote from an official PERA document given to my wife at retirement in 2014:

    PERA uses the CPI-W to calculate annual increases. The CPI-W is
    also used to adjust income payments and to provide cost-of-living
    wage adjustment for millions of workers, including Social Security

    Anyone like my wife who retired on or before 2018 will be down almost 20% in
    spending power by year end, since SB18-200 became law!! And this will get worse
    as COLAs may get cut further and SB18-200 does not sunset for another 25 years!!!
    Rule of 72: 7% inflation cuts your wealth in half in 10 years (i.e. 72 / 7)

    Senator Hickenlooper, Gov Polis, Treas Dave Young, Dir Ron Baker and PERA itself
    are BLEEPERS and NOT YOUR FRIENDS. Most of the lawmakers of both political parties
    ARE NOT supportive, especially the DEMs. The PERA organization is just a plan
    administrator and money managers and will push back against COLA increases (and
    PERACare subsidy increases).

    The theft of the annual COLAs from the current retirees is a meal ticket for
    lawmakers to score political points by using those savings for new pet projects.
    This (now legalized) grand theft is disgusting, immoral, and despicable. Most
    of the voting public, I would guess, wants PERA pensions gone. But they love
    social security because they contributed to it .

    BTW – Social security is not a pension. It is really a social insurance plan,
    a social safety net.
    Strong grass roots political pressure from PERA retirees is the ONLY way this is
    going to change. So contact and join CSPERA, the organization who is suppose to
    fight for PERA retirees. Retirees don’t have much leverage and have no union.

    How about a 1000 retirees marching around the state capital in January?
    Complain to your state reps (and Congressional reps). Send emails. Make phone calls.
    Contact the newpapers. Go to events and speak up. Attend Pension Committee meetings
    online. Become annoying now, before the 2023 Session ! Any wealthy retirees want
    to file suit and head to the courts again ?

    If you want things to change, get off you asses and get busy! – all 120,000 to
    130,000 of you! I am mad as hell and I am not going to stop! How about you!
    Apathy and silence will get you nowhere with policymakers.

    Maybe if interested, we can get an email group going to talk and plan?

    P.S. Not holding my breath for the WEP/GPO bill to going anywhere in Congress.

  11. Donny says:

    Clean audit? By the MF’s that stole your money? HahaLOLOLOL!!!! What a joke

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