OK Lawmakers Approve Pension COLA Funding Measure

February 25, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The Oklahoma state House has approved a bill mandating that lawmakers identify the funds to pay for state pension cost-of-living adjustments before they are approved.

The Oklahoman newspaper said the bill passed mostly along party lines, 62-28, in the Republican-controlled House. It now goes to the Senate.

“This bill says you have to pay for things if you’re going to get them,” Representative Randy McDaniel, author of House Bill 2132, told House members, according to the newspaper.

Minority Leader Scott Inman said he supported the idea of doing away with the assumed 2% cost-of-living adjustments but disagreed with the requirement that the money come from the state’s general fund, the principal funding source for state government.

McDaniel said one of the main reasons the state’s pension plans are in financial trouble is that legislators approved cost-of-living adjustments without paying for them. The money for the increases has come from the pension plans, he said, the Oklahoman reported. Eliminating the assumed 2% cost-of-living raises will save the state’s pension plans $5 billion over 25 to 30 years, McDaniel said.