Thursday, April 18, 2013

Firefighter Pension Reforms Approved by House

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma lawmakers voted today to put the Oklahoma Firefighter Pension and Retirement System on a path to long-term stability. House Bill 2078 is authored by Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Oklahoma City.

“This reform will make the firefighters’ pension system more stable and assure future firefighters will have a pension they can count on receiving,” said Speaker T.W. Shannon, R- Lawton. “I applaud Representative McDaniel for his efforts in this important reform measure.”

House Bill 2078 would increase the years of service for new firefighters from 20 to 22 years, the years to become vested from 10 to 11 years and increase the minimum age to receive retirement benefits to 50.

The contribution rates paid by firefighters increases from 8-percent to 9-percent, the municipalities contribution rate increases from 13-percent to 14-percent and the state percentage of the insurance premium tax allocated increases from 34 to 36. Moreover, the Deferred Retirement Option Plan is reformed by eliminating the guaranteed return of 7.5-percent after 5 years in the program. 

“The passage of the firefighter pension reform bill required teamwork and resolve,” said McDaniel, chairman of the House Pension Oversight Committee. “The downward trend of the plan will be negated. The future of the system will be significantly more secure.”

The system is currently funded at 61-percent. The unfunded liability grew by $100 million last year and currently has an unfunded liability of $1.1 billion. House Bill 2078 addresses the annual funding deficiency and puts the plan on a path to be 75-percent funded in 30 years.

House Bill 2078 passed the Senate with a vote of 43-0 and the House by a vote of 96-1. It now awaits the Governor’s approval. 

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