The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 28, 2013

First step to COLA raise taken for pensioners


ENID, Okla. — Oklahoma legislators are taking a first step toward a cost-of-living adjustment for state pensioners by setting up an account that would be used fund the increased benefits.

But the bill approved Thursday on an 86-7 vote did not include a funding mechanism to pay for the COLAs.

Ada Republican Rep. Todd Thomson, the House sponsor of the bill, says the bill is a “statement of opportunity” for state retirees.

The chairman of the Pension Oversight Committee, Oklahoma City Republican Rep. Randy McDaniel, says a 2 percent COLA for state pensioners would cost the state about $325 million.

Legislators two years ago helped shore up the unfunded liability of the state’s seven major pension systems by prohibiting COLAs without a dedicated revenue source.

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Online: Senate Bill 1111