Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: March 8, 2011

Sen. Mike Mazzei
Sen. Mike Mazzei

Senate votes to end pension gravy train for elected officials

The full Senate has voted 42-2 to end a long-standing retirement formula that enables elected officials in Oklahoma to receive twice the retirement benefit as state employees. Sen. Mike Mazzei is principal author of Senate Bill 794.

“At a time when we’re downsizing government because of less revenue and tighter budgets, we need to send a message to the voters that the days of special treatment for elected officials are coming to an end,” said Mazzei, R-Tulsa.

Mazzei is chair of the Senate Select Committee on Pensions charged with recommending reforms to address the state’s $16 billion unfunded liability in its retirement systems. Although the Oklahoma Constitution makes it impossible for the legislature to vote to change their salary, they do have the power to statutorily change retirement benefits for specific groups.

“Shockingly, somewhere in the history of Oklahoma politics, legislators created an extra, souped-up benefit for themselves inside the Oklahoma Public Employee Retirement System. This bill would make sure future elected officials have the same retirement benefits that all other government employees have,” Mazzei said.

SB 794 would realign benefits for future members of the legislature, statewide elected officials and elected officials at the county level who opt to participate in OPERS.

The measure now moves to the House of Representative for further consideration.

For more information contact:
Sen. Mazzei: (405) 521-5675

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