OKLAHOMA CITY – A cost of living adjustment for those in Oklahoma’s seven pension plans was the focus of a bipartisan interim study.
State Rep. Avery Frix (R-Muskogee) hosted the study before the House Banking, Financial Services and Pensions Committee. “My hope is to show that our state retirement systems have improved dramatically over the past decade,” Frix said. “This remains a priority for the House, and we hope our colleagues in the Senate also recognize a cost-of-living adjustment is long overdue.” Frix ran legislation last year that would have given state retirees a cost of living adjustment.
The legislation passed the House overwhelmingly but was not picked up in the state Senate. Instead, the Senate requested an actuarial analysis to see how a 2% adjustment would affect the state’s retirement systems. The House made a request for an analysis of 4%. Those reports are due Dec. 1. State retirees last received an adjustment in 2008. Since then, inflation has increased 19.5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Frix said the state is in much better financial shape today than the last time an adjustment was given. Teachers have been given a pay raise two years in a row, as have other state employees. The state’s financial rankings also have improved. Several of the state’s pension plans are now more than 100% funded and most are 80% funded, which is indicative of solvency. During the study, Frix also discussed retirees’ loss of buying power since they last received an adjustment and the many retirees who do not receive Social Securit