Oklahoma Lawmakers Start Process to Give State Pensioners a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment

Apr 11, 2019

Credit pixabay.com

Oklahomans receiving state pensions could get a 2% cost-of-living adjustment — in July 2020.

The Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee on Thursday called for an analysis of a 2% increase on the state’s six retirement systems. Sen. Gary Stanislawski said that’s required by the Oklahoma Pension Legislation Actuarial Analysis Act.

"We’re going to follow the law — we’re going to follow OPLAAA — and determine from each actuary what each pension system can afford to use from within the system without hurting the system for future retirees. I think that’s a very thoughtful way to do it," Stanislawski said.

The actuaries’ report is expected by Dec. 1. Lawmakers said that will let them vote on a cost-of-living adjustment next session that could be implemented July 1, 2020. Sen. Ron Sharp said in the meantime, some retirees are scraping by on $1,000 a month from the state, and he’s not impressed by the 2% proposal.

"That is not enough. We need to address those individuals in this COLA that are 15-plus years for perhaps an 8 to 10% COLA," Sharp said.

Sen. Michael Brooks said lawmakers shouldn’t have to call for reviews to increase retirement benefits.

"It needs to be something that’s automatically programmed into this legislature that we do on a regular basis instead of treating it like a gift that we only review every 10 to 15 years," Brooks said.