OKLAHOMA CITY (May 23, 2014) —The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), Oklahoma’s premier free-market think tank, issued a statement today on changes to the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System adopted by the legislature this week.
“Lawmakers and the governor deserve praise for actions this week to implement and require a defined contribution plan, a 401(k) style retirement plan, for all new non-hazard duty state employees. Modernizing state employees’ retirement benefits in this manner will help the state keep its promise to current retirees and employees while making sure to continue to address the state’s pension debt of $11 billion,” said Jonathan Small, OCPA’s vice president for policy.
“While many states are ‘kicking the can down the road’ and ignoring their ever-threatening pension problems, Oklahoma lawmakers have chosen to act responsibly over the last several years and are implementing reforms to try to protect employees, retirees and taxpayers from out-of-control pension debt.
“Like any major reform that challenges the status quo, it takes individuals who are focused on the future. In Oklahoma, Rep. Randy McDaniel, Sen. Rick Brinkley, Treasurer Ken Miller, Gov. Mary Fallin, Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman, Sen. Clark Jolley, Rep. Scott Martin and others dedicated significant effort to implement these reforms. We commend lawmakers for their efforts. Their actions will help government keep its promises to those who earn retirement benefits, establish a robust pay down of pension debt, help attract and maintain a performing and mobile work force and ensure available funding for core government services in the future.”
Background: The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has recommended for several years that Oklahoma implement a defined contribution plan for all non-hazard employees eligible for state government retirement benefits.
For more information, read “Saving Workers’ Retirement: First Steps Toward Public Pension Reform in Oklahoma” and “Saving Workers’ Retirement” on OCPA’s website.
OCPA's mission is to accumulate, evaluate and disseminate public policy ideas and information for Oklahoma, consistent with the principles of free enterprise, limited government and individual initiative.
Media Contact: Jonathan Small, 405.990.2689, firstname.lastname@example.org.