Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman issued the following statement Thursday, after his office and others in the Senate received questions from constituents about plans to raid the teacher retirement pension system to help balance the Fiscal Year 2017 budget:
“There is absolutely no way the Oklahoma Senate would ever consider any plan to raid the teacher retirement system to balance next year’s budget. We’ve worked too hard to strengthen TRS and reduce the unfunded liability that had threatened it in the past.
“Evidently, there are certain groups stoking fear among current and retired teachers in an effort to justify the money they take from teachers to lobby lawmakers. The plain truth is Republican leadership in the Senate and House has done more than previous regimes ever did to shore up the state’s pension funds. We’ve appropriated $300 million each of the past three years to the teacher retirement system, safeguarding the retirement of thousands of classroom teachers.
“We’re not going to jeopardize the pensions of teachers—anyone who says differently is either intentionally misleading you or they are greatly misinformed.”—Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa