The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 22, 2014

Pensions in danger

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Oklahoma politicians are taking a page out of Rhode Island’s playbook to “reform” the Oklahoma public pensions. Rhode Island’s State Treasurer’s reforms led to small returns on investments while tens of millions of fees were paid to Wall Street. Is that where Oklahoma is headed?

Oklahoma Policy Institute said the pension crisis is over. The reforms have worked for Oklahoma’s public pension systems.

Oklahoma Teacher Retirement system was honored as top public fund nationwide with a 16.3 percent return on investments of the $11.6 billion outpaces all other state funds and is on track to be fully funded in 17 years.

Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement is 87 percent funded. Diverting funds from OPERS as in HB 2630 and SB 2120 will weaken the system. Politicians will tell you that it only affects new hires.

You do the math.

Public employees retired yearly, yet very little new money will be funding the system if these bills pass. State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones said, “A small change in the return on investments and we could increase the unfunded liabilities.”

Forbes said about the defined benefit system, “They beat the pants off the 401(k) plans when it comes to performance.”

DAISY LAWLER

Comanche

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