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New Okla. Senate Leader Announces Pension Panel (Dec 17, 2010)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The incoming Republican leader of the Oklahoma Senate says he'll create a special committee to examine the state's unfunded pension liabilities.

President Pro Tem-designate Brian Bingman said Friday that ten senators will serve on the Select Committee on Pensions. Republican Sen. Mike Mazzei of Bixby will serve as chairman.

Oklahoma's five largest pension systems have a total unfunded liability of about $16 billion. The larges is the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System with an unfunded liability of $10.4 billion.

Legislative leaders are considering several options, including a requirement that any cost-of-living allowances approved by the Legislature contain a dedicated funding source. Other options include switching to a 401(k)-style plan for new hires and increasing the retirement age and the length of service that's required to become retirement-eligible.

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