Oklahoma Governor Signs State Pension Overhaul Bills

Tuesday, May 10th 2011, 4:55 pm
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Republican Gov. Mary Fallin has signed five separate bills designed to shore up the state's underfunded pension systems by requiring new public employees and teachers to work longer and mandating that cost-of-living adjustments be funded by the Legislature.

"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.

Flanked by House and Senate leaders, Fallin signed five separate bills on Tuesday that are designed to reduce the state's estimated $16.5 million unfunded pension liability, which is the amount owed to pensioners beyond what the systems can afford to pay.

The bill that requires lawmakers to fund cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, is expected to immediately reduce the unfunded liability of the state's five largest pension systems by $5 billion.

Another bill signed by Fallin would raise the retirement age for new teachers from 62 to 65.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.