Legislation granting cost-of-living adjustments for retirees in six Oklahoma pension plans, including teachers, firefighters, police, public employees and justices and judges, was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
House Bill 3350 bases COLAs on the number of years people have received retirement benefits from the state. Those retired for five years or more as of July 1 will receive a 4% increase in monthly pension payments. Those retired at least two years but not five will get a 2% increase.
HB 3350 enjoyed bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. It passed the House earlier this year with a unanimous vote of 99-0 and the Senate with a vote of 41-5.
HB3350 was proposed after an actuarial analysis showed a 4% COLA would not affect any retirement plan’s funded ratio by more than 2.9%. Overall, the plan would affect the system’s cumulative funded status by around 2%, and the plans would continue on an upward funding trajectory in the future even after a COLA.
Benefit managers for each of the pension plans spoke during an interim study last fall about their plan’s ability to absorb the COLA and its necessity for pensioners.
State retirees last received a COLA in 2008. Since then, inflation has increased 19.5%, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.