Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: April 16, 2019
Sen. Lonnie Paxton
Paxton says Senate GOP protecting retirees’ pensions
by sending COLA bill for study
Despite the political rhetoric of House Democrats,
Senator Lonnie Paxton said Senate Republicans are following the
law and protecting the pensions of state retirees by sending a cost
of living adjustment (COLA) bill for further study.
“Don’t believe the political hype of anyone who claims
Senate Republicans are standing in the way of a COLA for state retirees.
Republican reforms have been instrumental in saving the state pension
systems from financial ruin. By following those pension reform laws,
Senate Republicans are protecting the retirement of current and
future state retirees by ensuring the long-term solvency of the
pension systems,” said Paxton, R-Tuttle.
Last week, in accordance with the Oklahoma Pension Legislation
Actuarial Analysis Act (OPLAA) and Senate rules, the Senate Retirement
and Insurance Committee voted to send House Bill 2304 for an actuarial
study. The results of that study will be returned to the Senate
Retirement and Insurance Committee, and HB 2304 will be eligible
for consideration by that committee in the 2020 session.
Paxton said Democrats seem to be glossing over decades of pension
fund mismanagement by their predecessors at the Capitol. A volunteer
firefighter for 27 years and the spouse of a public school teacher,
Paxton said he and his Senate Republican colleagues understand how
important a COLA is for state retirees.
“It’s incredulous for House Democrats to insinuate
Senate Republicans are playing political games with state retirees.
For decades, Democrats raided the state pension funds to balance
the budget or pay for political pet projects. That left state systems
severely underfunded and the state with billions in unfunded liabilities,”
Paxton said. “Republicans ended that practice. Republicans
have invested more than $3.4 billion since 2011 above and beyond
the normal employer contribution to fix the Democrats’ past
mistakes. Republicans, even during the economic recession, kept
our commitment to invest in the pension systems. If we didn’t
have to fix those past mistakes, we could have invested that money
in any number of priorities like increasing teacher salaries, lowering
class sizes, or investing more in our infrastructure. Senate Republicans
take pension reform seriously, which is why we are committed to
following the law.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Smalley: (405) 521-5547