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Mon March 3, 2014
House Leaders Link Pension Overhaul To Pay
A state lawmaker says members of the Oklahoma House are urging the Senate and Gov. Mary Fallin to commit funding targeted pay increases before signing off on a pension overhaul bill.
State Rep. Leslie Osborn's (R-Mustang) measure would revamp the state's employee compensation system. Osborn says her plan will force lawmakers to make some hard financial decisions in other areas.
The Oklahoman reports Osborn has the support of Republican House Speaker Jeff Hickman of Fairview.
Osborn said the goal of her employee compensation bill, House Bill 3293, is to raise state employee salaries to 90 percent of the private market within four years by setting aside 3 percent of the previous fiscal year’s payroll costs for salary adjustments each year.
Oklahoma state employees, in general, are currently paid about 20 percent less than the private market, according to the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.
Three percent of last year’s payroll would amount to about $40 million a year, according to John Estus, spokesman for the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services.
Hickman says he would like to see House members consider the pay raise bill and pension bill one right after the other on the House floor. Hickman says lawmakers should not reform the pension plans and tell state employees that they will consider the salary issue later.