First Regular Session

Sixty-first General Assembly

LLS NO. R97@0761.01 DFH



also SENATOR Wham.




WHEREAS, The onset of the Great Depression in 1930 created an acute need for public assistance for the elderly and for others, as individuals lost homes, livelihoods, and savings; and

WHEREAS, The first old age public assistance program in Colorado was created in 1930; and

WHEREAS, Proponents of the Townsend Plan, a popular national movement in the 1930's to offer persons 60 years of age and older a pension of $200 per month, believed that genuine security for elderly citizens could be guaranteed only through a program written into the state constitution; and

WHEREAS, The Colorado Constitution was amended in 1937 to create the old age pension program based on such proposal; and

WHEREAS, The General Assembly, in preparing for the 21st century, has analyzed the rapid growth of the elderly population and its potential implications for the old age pension program; and

WHEREAS, The General Assembly authorized and funded an independent study of the old age pension program during fiscal year 1996­97; and

WHEREAS, A concurrent resolution, HCR 97­ ____, has been introduced to refer to the voters amendments to the Colorado Constitution based on the recommendations of that study; and

WHEREAS, At the time of the creation of the old age pension program, the eligibility age was set at 60 to be commensurate with life expectancies at the beginning of the 20th century; and

WHEREAS, Life expectancy has increased dramatically since then, the average retirement age in this country is now 65, and the federal government plans to increase the average retirement age for social security to age 67; and

WHEREAS, The study concludes that the current age of eligibility for the old age pension is no longer appropriate due to increased life expectancies; and

WHEREAS, Because the proposal to amend the constitutional provisions governing the old age pension program, if adopted, may affect eligibility of future low­income retirees, a preretirement public education program that coincides with the constitutional changes would allow such persons to more appropriately plan for their retirement needs; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty­first General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein:

That the General Assembly directs the Department of Human Services to design and implement a preretirement public education program for low­income persons who might be affected by the proposed changes in the old age pension program, and that such education program should begin if HCR 97­___ is enacted and referred to the voters and should continue if the voters adopt the recommended changes to the Colorado Constitution governing the old age pension program.