Sen. Anderson holds interim study on pension reform
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Published: 30-Nov-2010

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 30-Nov-2010

Sen. Patrick Anderson will hold an interim study on reforming the state pension systems this week.

Anderson’s session on the issue is slated for this Thursday, December 2, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 511-A of the State Capitol.  The executive directors of the various state pension systems will be presenting reports on the current financial status of their respective systems.

In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Anderson, an Enid Republican, said “Last year I led the fight for education reform in the Senate and authored the landmark school reform legislation known as the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for special needs students.  This coming year I intend to continue my efforts to reform the way Oklahoma does business by setting my sights on reforming the state pension systems.”

He continued,  “I have served for the past six years as the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services and have seen how state agency budgets are being devastated by ever increasing retirement costs.  The more funds an agency has to devote to retirement costs results in fewer funds being available to be spent on roads, bridges, public safety and health.”

Known for his fiscal conservatism, State Treasurer Scott Meacham, a Democrat, recently pointed out the unfunded liability of these pension systems exceeds three times the entire budget for the State of Oklahoma. (Meacham has agreed with characterizations that the state Teachers Retirement System is among the two or three worst-funded pension systems in the nation.)

Anderson commented on the troubling data for state pensions, saying, “We must address this issue and change the retirement systems or it will bankrupt the State of Oklahoma.”

Anderson will be joining House Speaker Kris Steele and Rep. Randy McDaniel in their efforts to address pension reform in the coming legislative year.

“Speaker Steele has already announced that pension reform is a priority issue for the House and I look forward to working with him and Representative McDaniel on this critical legislation,” Anderson said.

McDaniel, an Oklahoma City Republican, has been designated to lead the pension reform effort in the House of Representatives.

“The unfunded status of our retirement systems requires action.  This problem has reached a point that we must address in order to protect the financial future of the State of Oklahoma,” McDaniel said.

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