Representatives Unanimously Pass Cost of Living Raise for Retirees

Tuesday, March 10th 2020, 8:04 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

For the first time in 12-years, state retirees could be getting a cost of living adjustment. 

“Today we stand here united. Not as Democrats. Not as Republicans. But as Oklahomans. Oklahomans standing together to ensure that the promises that this state made to retirees are upheld,” Representative Emily Virgin (D) Minority Leader said after representatives voted unanimously for a cost of living adjustment for retirees.

Representative Avery Frix (R) Muskogee authored the bill.  

“Those who have been retired two years or less will receive zero cola. Those who have been retired two to five years will receive a 2% cola.  And those who have been retired five years or more will receive the 4% cola which I’m told is the majority of retirees in our state.” Frix said.

The cost of the cost of living adjustment is about $767 million for the life of the agreement.  State leaders said they’re confident Oklahoma can afford that, even with the global oil price war dropping prices and tax revenue for the state.

“We will still be able to grow our pensions. If our pensions were on a positive trajectory here before the cola the pension system will still be on a positive trajectory after this cola,” said House Speaker Charles McCall.

Retirees, as you can imagine, are happy with the vote.

“All these people who retired, we ought to be holding them here,” said retired Oklahoma City firefighter George Fina, gesturing to his chest. “Because they’ve given their lives for this state.”

The bill now goes to the state Senate where a similar bill stalled last year.