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Oklahoma lawmaker: Need exists for further pension reform

BY STATE REP. RANDY MCDANIEL Published: January 6, 2013

Illinois' massive unfunded pension liability has led to credit downgrades and tax increases. Poor credit leads to higher borrowing costs. The recent Illinois tax increase means the state joins California, Maryland and New York with the distinction of having the highest state tax rates in the country.

These byproducts of a poorly funded pension system are avoidable. Until recently, however, the condition of Oklahoma's pension system was more closely associated with Illinois than states with strong systems. Fortunately, state leaders have been willing to work together. Significant reforms have been accomplished. The unfunded liability has been slashed by billions. Nevertheless, more work is necessary.

This session, I will author legislation intended to strengthen the state retirement system. The coalition for more pension reform is becoming larger, enhancing the probability of success. Many positive developments are transpiring throughout Oklahoma. Support for greater financial responsibility is strong, while the opportunities for economic prosperity continue to grow.

McDaniel, R-Oklahoma City, represents District 83 in the Oklahoma House, where he is chairman of the Pension Oversight Committee.