Group formed to fight Okla. pension overhaul

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — While Republican legislators set the stage Wednesday for an overhaul of Oklahoma’s public pension systems, groups representing public school teachers, firefighters and prison workers flexed their political muscle with the formation of a coalition to fight some of the proposed changes.

Members of the newly created “Keep Oklahoma’s Promises” met at the Capitol following a joint meeting of a House and Senate committee whose members are expected to consider a plan to shift newly hired state workers from their current traditional pension system to a more 401(k)-style defined contribution plan. Republican leaders also are pushing to consolidate the administration of the state’s seven different pension systems.

Both proposals will face stiff opposition from teachers and firefighters, who are a powerful lobbying force at the Capitol, especially during an election year.

“I don’t mind not making a lot of money,” said Tammy King, a fifth-grade teacher from Moore. “The thing I haven’t had to worry about is my retirement … but now I’m worried about that.”

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