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Lawmakers Require Pension COLAs to be Funded (May 03, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma House has given final approval to a bill designed to shore up the state's underfunded pension systems by requiring any cost-of-living increases to be funded by the Legislature.

The House voted 64-25 on Tuesday for the bill that is expected to immediately reduce the state's total unfunded liability among its five largest pension systems by more than $5 billion. Actuarial studies have determined those five systems have a $16.5 unfunded liability, which is the amount owed to pensioners beyond what the systems can afford to pay.

The bill now heads to the governor for her consideration.

Opponents argued that cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are critically important to retirees, especially with the rising costs of fuel and food.

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