President Pro Tempore Greg Treat appointed seven senators on Monday to serve on a pension working group to study long-term pension reform as well as make recommendations to his office on pending pension reform legislation.
Pending in the Senate is a House bill that would provide a 4 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) to retired public employees at a price tag of $850 million to the retirement systems. Pro Tem Treat said the working group would review that legislation, as well as study how to protect and further the gains made to improve the financial stability of state pension funds.
“When Republicans took over in 2010, many of the state pension systems were in poor financial shape after years of mismanagement by previous leaders at the Capitol. Not only did that threaten the retirement of future state employees, it negatively affected the state’s bond rating and made it more expensive for schools, local governments, and the state to borrow money for important capital projects,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City. “Republican leaders made considerable progress in reforming pensions, most notably requiring COLAs to be fully funded. Senate Republicans understand public employees, who have served the state admirably, want a COLA; however, it’s important we take prudent fiscal action to ensure we don’t threaten the progress made in making our pension systems more stable. The working group will help us gain a fuller picture of current pension legislation and other potential issues that need to be addressed moving forward.”
Pro Tem Treat gave the working group an April 4 deadline, one week before the April 11 committee deadline, to report recommendations to his office on pending pension legislation. The members of the pension working group are:
Senator Jason Smalley, R-Stroud
Senator Marty Quinn, R-Claremore
Senator Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa
Senator Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle
Senator Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee
Senator Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater,
Senator John Michael Montgomery, R-Lawton