Ohio pension reform bills clear Legislature

The Ohio General Assembly on Wednesday approved five reform bills covering each of the state's public pension funds.

The pension funds are the $76 billion Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, $62.6 billion Ohio State Teachers' Retirement System, $12.3 billion Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, $9.9 billion Ohio School Employees Retirement System and the $700 million Ohio State Highway Patrol Retirement System, all of Columbus.

Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the bills later this month.

The votes in the state House of Representatives and Senate were unanimous for the bills, one for each of the five funds, except for a single dissenting vote in on the teachers' system bill. The board of each retirement system had voted for the provisions earlier this year.

Under the reforms, employee contributions in the teachers' retirement system will increase to 14% from 10%, effective July 1, 2013; while employee contributions in the police and fire fund will increase to 12.25% from 10% in annual increments of 0.75 percentage points beginning July 2, 2013. Employee contributions to the highway patrol system also will increase to 14% from 10%

Employee contributions in PERS and the school employees system are not changing.

Other reforms among the five systems included changes to cost-of-living increases and retirement ages, although not all the systems made those changes.