| June 7, 2012

Voters approve pension reforms

With Oklahoma government spending at an all-time high (see chart), the time has come to set priorities and to exercise spending discipline. One hopes the leadership of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and the voters’ subsequent approval of his courageous stand for fiscal responsibility, will catch the attention of policymakers in Oklahoma.

But it’s not just Wisconsin. While most of the nation’s attention was focused on Gov. Walker this week, voters in San Diego and San Jose also went to the polls and voted for reasonable government-employee pension reforms. In San Diego, for example, voters approved reforms which include the requirement that all new city workers (except for police officers) receive a defined-contribution plan instead of continuing costly defined-benefit plans for new hires. OCPA has recommended that all new state employees (non-hazardous-duty employees) receive a defined-contribution plan, thus ending the gamble of ever higher state payments to defined-benefit plans.

It is time for Oklahoma lawmakers to build on the pension-reform efforts of the last two legislative sessions. Lawmakers must adopt bold pension reforms during the 2013 legislative session.

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