Public pension reform can't be ignored forever in Oklahoma

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: May 1, 2013
Advertisement
;

With one month left in the legislative session, groups opposed to making changes in state pension fund systems are ramping up efforts to see that they succeed.

The Oklahoma Education Association is among those urging members to tell lawmakers to leave pension plans alone. State Rep. Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, for one, has bought in. Brown says he's gotten several emails from teachers “terrified they are going to lose their retirement.” In a news release, he acknowledged that Oklahoma's unfunded pension liability merits attention, but “jeopardizing the retirement of our teachers and public employees is not the answer.”

Of course it's not. Most of the groups covered by state pensions oppose the idea of making any changes to their current plans, which provide a defined benefit. Gov. Mary Fallin and state Treasurer Ken Miller are exploring a switch away from defined benefit plans, as about half the states have done.

Why? Because Oklahoma's pension plans are unfunded by about $11 billion. That amount was greater a few years ago, before lawmakers changed the way cost-of-living adjustments are funded. Further pension reform is needed. It's unlikely to happen this session, due to the scope of the issue and the accompanying contention, but it can't be put off forever.


by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Bo Pelini suits up for Nebraska football camp
  2. 2
    Police: Gunman and victim in Loop shooting 'had been friends for years'
  3. 3
    Every Ridiculous Moment Of 'Sharknado 2' In Two Minutes
  4. 4
    Bill Clinton's Chilling Statements Hours Before 9/11 Attacks
  5. 5
    This Interactive Map Shows The Wealthiest Person In Each State
+ show more