The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would set up a separate fund to pay cost-of-living adjustments for teachers and state employees in the state’s pension systems.
However, the bill does not include any kind of funding mechanism for the fund, which would only be used to pay out COLAs. Two years ago, the Legislature passed a bill that said COLAs must be paid from the state’s general fund and approved by legislators in any given year. COLAs were previously paid directly from the individual pension system’s assets. Under the latest bill, COLAs would be paid directly from the new fund in years when it is approved by legislators.
The bill goes back to the Senate, which originally introduced the bill to create a fund solely for the $11.4 billion Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System, Oklahoma City.