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Oklahoma Senate Leader Announces State Pension Panel

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State Senators Brian Bingman of Sapulpa (left) and Mike Mazzei of Bixby. State Senators Brian Bingman of Sapulpa (left) and Mike Mazzei of Bixby.

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The incoming Republican leader of the Oklahoma Senate says he'll create a special committee to examine the state's unfunded pension liabilities.

President Pro Tem-designate Brian Bingman (R - Sapulpa) said Friday that 10 senators will serve on the Select Committee on Pensions. Republican Sen. Mike Mazzei of Bixby will serve as chairman.

Oklahoma's five largest pension systems have a total unfunded liability of about $16 billion. The largest is the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System with an unfunded liability of $10.4 billion.

Legislative leaders are considering several options, including a requirement that any cost-of-living allowances approved by the Legislature contain a dedicated funding source. Other options include switching to a 401(k)-style plan for new hires and increasing the retirement age and the length of service that's required to become retirement-eligible.

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