The bipartisan leadership of the Oklahoma Senate praised the passage of Senate Bill 357 by the House of Representatives, part of a bipartisan legislative agreement that will pump more than $200 million over the next five years into the fiscally-troubled Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System (TRS). When fully implemented in 2010, the plan will infuse $60 million a year into the TRS.
“In conjunction with last year’s reforms, Senate Bill 357 represents a strong, bipartisan effort to put the ailing TRS on firm financial footing, thereby averting a future financial crisis,” stated Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
“One of the key elements of this agreement is a provision that will hold the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System harmless if state revenues are reduced in the future. By making certain that a reduction in state revenue won’t impact the system, Senate Bill 357 will ensure the future viability of OTRS,” said Senator Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau.
“The Senate has worked very hard to make the Teacher Retirement System a top priority in the 2007 legislative session. This agreement shows that bipartisan cooperation is still working in the Oklahoma Legislature,” stated Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Finding a workable solution that will, over time, considerably reduce the unfunded liability in the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System has long been one of my top priorities. Senator Johnson and I committed to each other early in the session that we would not leave here until we had done something about teachers’ retirement. I am pleased the House leadership has agreed to join us and I think the measure passed today will provide stability to the system as well as protecting state’s bond rating,” said Senator Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.