Pension System’s Overhaul Unwarranted

The Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System is currently in the best shape it has been in 20 years, according to the national pension actuaries firm Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company. 

Yesterday the firm presented its report on the status of the state’s largest pension system, informing the OTRS board of directors that the system is now on track to be 100 percent funded in 17 years, down from last year’s estimate of 22 years. The funding ratio also increased from 54.8 percent to 57.2 percent over that period. The news comes in response to a great year of investing, with OTRS receiving a return on investment of over 17 percent for FY13.

“Education employees around the state are pleased to hear this great news,” said Linda Hampton, President of the Oklahoma Education Association. “This is yet another indication that our pension system is sound, on the right track, and in no need of the major overhaul being considered by some lawmakers for next session. Those claiming our pension debt is putting the state at risk need to look at the real numbers instead of manufacturing a crisis that doesn’t exist.”

When asked about the pension system’s debt in yesterday’s meeting, the actuaries stated that, “Discussion of the unfunded liability is a scare tactic. We’ve been providing consulting services for this system for over 20 years and have never seen it in such good shape.”

The Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System has approximately 145,000 current and former education employee members and has consistently ranked in the top one percent in performance of all public pension funds in the country for the past decade.



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