By Randy Ellis
Members of the Oklahoma State Pension Commission were united on some issues but divided on others Wednesday as they discussed how to resolve complex problems plaguing Oklahoma’s financially troubled pension systems.
Commissioners voted unanimously to send letters to the governor and state lawmakers urging them to pass a law or amend the state constitution to require the Legislature to annually make “actuarially required contributions” to each of the state’s seven public pension plans.
Actuarially required contributions are state appropriations in amounts sufficient to make sure accrued benefits for the current year are paid and that each pension plan’s accrued unfunded pension liabilities are gradually paid off over time.
Oklahoma’s Legislature chose not to appropriate money to fund the actuarially required contributions of the state’s pension funds for several years, contributing to the state’s current problem of having about $11.4 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.