| June 12, 2013

Time to think big on pension reform

In a new report released last week (‘Saving Workers’ Retirement: First Steps Toward Public Pension Reform in Oklahoma’), OCPA unveiled a plan which ensures that current state employees and retirees get the retirement they were promised, sets in motion a plan to pay down unfunded liabilities, and brings the government’s pension system into the 21st century. As OCPA fiscal policy director Jonathan Small told journalist Pat McGuigan, it’s time for Oklahoma’s political leaders to think big.

In an interview with CapitolBeatOK soon after publication of the reform plan on June 6, Small said:

"Half-measures, such as an optional defined-contribution plan, or a ‘cash balance’ plan, are not going to solve our problem. Our defined-benefit plans increased liabilities for taxpayers by over a $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2012."

He continued, "Optional defined-contribution plans and 'cash-balance' plans (which are still defined-benefit plans), don't stop the accumulation of long-term promises and liabilities for new employees. A competitive defined-contribution plan is the fairest for OPERS employees and for taxpayers, and ensures that retirement-benefit promises cannot be broken or mishandled by politicians."

Small concluded, "It’s past time for Oklahoma to join the modern world and enact a defined-contribution plan."

OCPA’s report is available here. And at the 3:10 mark below, McGuigan discusses the report with Alex Cameron of the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City.

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