Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Reforms Will Reduce Pension Systems’ Unfunded Liability by Over $5 billion
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today signed several key pieces of pension reform legislation into law at a public bill signing with state leaders. The bills aim to provide a boost to the fiscal solvency of the state’s public employee pension systems, which are currently troubled with $16 billion in unfunded liability.
“Pension reform is about creating a sustainable future for our state budget and our state retirement systems,” Fallin said. “We can’t keep allowing these systems to go deeper and deeper into debt without serious consequences. By beginning the reform process today, we are helping to ensure that we don’t one day face a crisis scenario where the state is simply unable to deliver on the benefits we’ve promised our retired workers.”
One bill, HB 2132, authored by House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, would reduce unfunded liability in state pensions by $5 billion by requiring the legislature to provide a funding source for cost of living adjustments (COLA’s). Fallin said the commonsense measure restored fiscal responsibility to the system.
“We can’t promise to increase pension payments without identifying where that money is coming from,” Fallin said.
“That’s the sort of behavior that put the state of Oklahoma $16 billion in the red when it comes to our pension systems. HB 2132 changes that and ensures that any COLA increases are fully funded and fiscally sound.”
In addition to HB 2132, Fallin also signed the following pension reform measures into law, all authored by Senator Mike Mazzei and Representative Randy McDaniel: