The Oklahoma Retired Educators Association is an official sponsor of the Oklahoma PTA Brighter Future education rally scheduled for Monday, March 30, at the Oklahoma State Capitol. We encourage all OREA members who are able to do so to participate in this important event.
The Brighter Future #OKEDRALLY is less than a week away and everyone is working hard on the final preparations. We hope to see everyone at the State Capitol on Monday, March 30th!
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Staggered arrival times
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Appointments with legislators
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Rally on the South steps of the State Capitol
1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Appointments with legislators and departures
You can learn more about the Rally by visiting the Rally website.
Also, please mark your calendars to participate in OREA’s Lobby Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 7. Consult your recent OREA News Bulletin for lobby day details.
March 19, 2015
“Protecting TRS Dedicated Funding”
This week’s slow pace at the Legislature affords a little time to issue a warning to OREA members about a potential danger to Teachers’ Retirement System funding.
TRS relies for a substantial amount of its annual funding on dedicated revenues from the state’s personal and corporate income, sales and use taxes. In the fiscal year completed June 30, 2014, the system received $296 million from this so-called “off the top” funding. Off the top means the tax revenue does not go through the legislative appropriations process, but instead goes directly from the Oklahoma Tax Commission to an agency or function of government as defined in law.
In the case of TRS, an immediate 5% slice of the income, sales and use taxes goes directly to TRS for operational expenses, where it joins up with contributions by active employees and payroll taxes paid by preK-12 school districts, career and technology centers, colleges and universities, and other participating agencies. It totals about $1 billion dollars from all sources.
The dedicated (“off the top”) revenue represents about 30% of TRS’ annual income. Without it, the system could not cover benefits and pay operating expenses. Progress toward 100% funding by 2025 would be stymied. The system’s funding progress could even be reversed.
In recent months, Governor Mary Fallin and other top state officials have openly remarked that there is too much off the top funding. They complain that legislators don’t have enough money to appropriate for the functions of government they deem important. To put more money in the hands of legislators to spend, the amount of dedicated funding to things like public education, retirement systems, student scholarships, and more should be reduced, they say.
It has become rather common in recent weeks for some key legislators to opine that one of the ways the current $611 million budget shortfall can be solved is to reduce or eliminate off the top funding in state government. Put the money back in the hands of the legislature. Let legislators decide how to spend it. Our budget problems will be solved. We’ll even be able to grant additional tax cuts.
OREA does not know if the recent rhetoric about off the top funding will ferment this session to the point of serious efforts to take away some of the money now dedicated to the Teachers’ Retirement System. Surely they wouldn’t do that, would they? They would never repeat the sins of the past by diverting revenue away from TRS to other functions of government, would they?
OREA believes it is better to be safe than sorry. The state’s 56,000 retired educators – not to mention tens of thousands of active educators – must be alerted to this potential danger to TRS funding.
Consider yourself alerted. Do your state representative and senator need to hear from you on this issue?
“April 7 - OREA Lobby Day at the State Capitol”
Mark your calendar now to participate in the “OREA Lobby Day at the State Capitol” on Tuesday, April 7, from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
This important event will be our best opportunity this legislative session to communicate the OREA legislative program to lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate.
Every OREA member participating will receive a $10 cash lunch stipend as partial defrayment of personal expenses.
Retired educators not currently OREA members may join the association the day of the event, and will receive the $10 cash stipend also.
Watch your mailbox March 21-28 for the arrival of the spring issue of the OREA News Bulletin. It will contain all the information needed to participate in the day’s activities.
No registration is necessary.
Shuttle bus service from the various Capitol parking lots is planned.
Briefing sessions will be conducted, helping even the most novice member-lobbyist to have a successful and enjoyable day advocating for the interests of retired educators.
Lobbying materials will be provided, plus morning refreshments.
It’s not a rally outside the building, it’s a day of serious interaction inside the Capitol with legislators about the needs of retired educators.
According to the National Institute for Retirement Security, traditional defined benefit retirement plans - like the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System - are better than the individual accounts provided by defined contribution 401 (k)-style plans now being pushed aggressively across the country by some leading politicians and many leaders of the financial industry.
A recent NIRS study found that traditional defined benefit plans are 48 percent less expensive to provide the same modest retirement benefit offered by a defined contribution plan. Stated differently, it means that, for the same amount of money going into the plan, a sponsor (i.e., the state of Oklahoma) can benefit from significant savings, and the eventual retiree (i.e., the Oklahoma retired teacher) can enjoy much more money in his/her pocket. It means lifetime financial security, and not outliving your money.
More specifically, NIRS says that traditional pension plans enjoy higher investment returns and lower fees than individual accounts, generating a 27 percent cost savings.
Unlike individual investors who generally enjoy high-risk, high-reward investment strategies when they're young, but switch to lower-risk portfolios that yield far lower returns as they age, traditional pension plans can maintain a balanced portfolio that yields consistently high returns, generating an 11 percent cost savings.
Traditional pension plans pool longevity risk, meaning that they only have to save for the average life expectancy of a group of individuals. Workers in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan need an investment strategy that provides for the event that they live longer than average life. Longevity risk pooling generates a 10 percent cost savings.
Add up the savings, and it's 48 percent. If the Oklahoma Teachers' Retirement System, as it is currently structured, is less costly to administer, and retirees get more money to last them a lifetime, why would we want to do anything else?
- ANNOUNCING A BRAND NEW BENEFIT -
GUIDED TOURS BY COLLETTE TRAVEL
Introducing the first two trips....
Bella Italia Tour Highlights include:
- St. Mark's Square
- High-Speed Train
- and much, much more!
Click here to learn more about the OREA Bella Italia Tour
New York City Holiday Highlights include:
- Radio City Music Hall featuring
high kicking Rockettes
- Empire State Building
- 911 Memorial
- Statue of Liberty
- Broadway show
- and much, much more
OREA Spotlight on New York City Holiday
Enjoy the Freedom of Guided Travel
The only way to travel! Finding the perfect hotel to a blending of cultural experiences and free time with must-see inclusions, Collette Travel will handle it all while you simply revel in the adventure.
Peace of Mind
Collette Travel is with you every step of the way. Their group travel experts make your pre-tour exerience easy. While their tour managers take care of all the pre-tour details, you will experience the tour with your group.
Travelers can relax and set out on their adventure worry-free with Collette's Travel Protection Plan, which offers a full refund for any reason right up to the day prior to departure.
NEW MEMBER BENEFIT!
OFFICE DEPOT SAVINGS PROGRAM
OREA has partnered with Office Depot® to bring you a FREE discount program. Save up to 80% off preferred products!
- Shop online with FREE next day delivery on orders over $50 (excludes furniture orders)
- Shop in one of Oklahoma’s 17 stores
To shop online or print off your in-store savings card, click here:
MEMBERS RECRUITING MEMBERS: WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE THINK OF IT BEFORE?
Click on the link below for a 2014-15 membership form and the simple rules of the new OREA member recruiting plan. Aimed at growing the already strong OREA membership base to strengthen the retired educator voice in all the places it's needed, the "Member Recruiting Members" program is so simple, yet has great potential. And, if you elect to take part, it could put some extra dollars in your purse or wallet. Take a look at the program, and we hope you'll utilize the OREA membership enrollment materials to recruit new members. We'll all be better off if you do.
2014 -15 Membership Enrollment Form & The Basics of the Program
Now Available...Join Online.
It's quick and easy.
This option is only available
for the OREA (State) Annual Membership.
Click here for information and to join
“Program Ideas for Local Unit Meetings and Activities”
Need a new, fresh program idea for your local county meeting? Thanks to the OREA Communications Committee and the Tulsa Metro Retired Educators Association for their suggestions.
Click here for lots of amazing ideas
Ever wonder how OREA members become officers, board members, or committee chairs? Perhaps there are members who would like to
become more active in the association but aren't certain of the way
officers are elected and the responsibilities of each. Click here for
an overview of officers, board members, and committee chairs
how they achieve an office.
CALL OREA DIRECT
405.525.2230 - Local
800.310.2230 - Toll Free