Oklahoma Municipal League should offer its own firefighter pension proposal

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: October 15, 2012

If the problem before was a lack of participation by all parties, then why would the league's officials turn around and participate in extremely limited discussions behind closed doors with just two senators out of 149 state lawmakers?

The foot-dragging from city officials might be forgivable if they had a good track record on pension issues. They don't. Oklahoma cities administered the firefighters' pension plan until 30 years ago. State government had to take over that duty because the plan was only 17 percent funded at that time.

Dean correctly notes that local taxpayers will foot higher costs from the proposed 1 percent increase in city contributions to the system. But taxpayers could face far worse if nothing is done today and the system is allowed to go broke. This wouldn't happen for 68 years as things currently stand, but McDaniel notes that the longer the state waits to address the problem, the more challenging it gets to fix.

What can be resolved today with relatively small funding increases spread out over many years will require large increases in a short time frame in the future. Oklahoma taxpayers will foot the bill either way.

McDaniel's plan may not be perfect, but at least it's a plan. That's better than the approach offered so far by the Oklahoma Municipal League. In opposing McDaniel's plan, the group has a duty to unveil one of its own.

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...
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