Cost Of Living Increase For State Retirees Awaits Governor's Decision

May 18, 2020

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is considering legislation to give raises to state retirees for the first time in 12 years.

The measure to give Cost of Living Adjustments to firefighters, law enforcement and teachers passed the Senate as one of the last bills before the legislative session ended on Friday.

The bill’s author, Senator Roger Thompson, says the retiree systems are well-funded even though the hit to the programs will be a 1.5 to 1.8 percent increase.

"Even those who indicated they might vote no against it and ended up voting yes said the systems are well-funded and that they’re able to take that," Thompson said. "Do we need to take a look at some reforms? Absolutely. Those that are over 114% funded, we need to say, 'Hey, what’s up with that? Let’s quit putting money into those systems.'"

If signed by the governor, state employees retired five years or longer would get a four-percent increase, while those retired two to five years would see a two percent COLA starting July 1. Anyone retired for less than two years would see no increase.

The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 41 to 5 after clearing the House unanimously.