Wow. What a week. If you have been getting news about happenings at the Oklahoma State Capitol, you know that the OK Legislature passed a historic revenue package (House Bill 1010xx) of $447 million. It is historic in the fact since State Question 640 passed in 1992, this is the first revenue bill that has passed in the legislature. Yes, it sounds like a large amount, but considering it’s been about 30 years since any new taxes have been passed there’s a little bit of catching up to do! SQ 640 requires a 75% majority vote in both chambers of the legislature to pass a revenue bill that creates a “new” tax. Interestingly, when the people of Oklahoma passed this state question in March of 1992, it received 56.2% yes vote—obviously much less than the percentage now required to create new revenue! Before the governor even signed HB 1010xx into law, the legislature had already passed a bill to repeal the hotel/motel $5 room charge estimated to generate between $42-$50 million. Of course, a simple majority is all that’s required to repeal a tax. You can read details about the bill at https://okpolicy.org/in-the-kn...  

There’s been no movement on the STIPEND bill--HB 1340, but it is expected to be heard in the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee this week. You can read the full text of the bill here: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok...

The bill we alerted you on last week, Senate Bill 1569, is still assigned to the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. THANK YOU for your calls and contacts. We must continue to let them know that they should PROTECT THE TEACHER RETIREMENT SYSTEM and vote no on the bill. If you haven’t had a chance to contact them yet, below is their contact information.  

Representative Phone Email
Kevin Wallace, Chair 405-557-7368Kevin.wallace@okhouse.gov
Dennis Casey, Vice Chair 405-557-7344      Dennis.casey@okhouse.gov
John Bennett 405-557-7315 John.bennett@okhouse.gov
Chad Caldwell 405-557-7317 Chad.caldwell@okhouse.gov
Kevin Calvey 405-557-7357 Kevin.calvey@okhouse.gov
Josh Cockroft 405-557-7349 Josh.cockraft@okhouse.gov
Jason Dunnington 405-557-7396 Jason.dunnington@okhouse.gov
Jon Echols 405-557-7354 Jon.echols@okhouse.gov
Elise Hall 405-557-7403 Elise.hall@okhouse.gov
Scott Inman 405-557-7370 Scott.inman@okhouse.gov
John Paul Jordan 405-557-7352 Jp.jordan@okhouse.gov
Chris Kannady 405-557-7337 Chris.kannady@okhouse.gov
Steve Kouplen 405-557-7306 Steve.kouplen@okhouse.gov
Mark Lepak 405-557-7380 Mark.lepak@okhouse.gov
Ben Loring 405-557-7399 Ben.loring@okhouse.gov
Mark McBride 405-557-7346 Mark.mcbride@okhouse.gov
Terry O’Donnell 405-557-7379 Terry.odonnell@okhouse.gov
Charles Ortega 405-557-7369 Charles.ortega@okhouse.gov
Leslie Osborn 405-557-7333 Leslie.osborn@okhouse.gov
Pat Ownbey 405-557-7326 Pat.ownbey@okhouse.gov
John Pfeiffer 405-557-7332 John.pfeiffer@okhouse.gov
Eric Proctor 405-557-7410 Eric.proctor@okhouse.gov
Dustin Roberts 405-557-7366 Dustin.roberts@okhouse.gov
Todd Russ 405-557-7312 Todd.russ@okhouse.gov
Mike Sanders 405-557-7407 Mike.sanders@okhouse.gov
Earl Sears 405-557-7358 Earl.sears@okhouse.gov
Shane Stone 405-557-7397 Shane.stone@okhouse.gov
Emily Virgin 405-557-7323 Emily.virgin@okhouse.gov
Weldon Watson 405-557-7330 Weldon.watson@okhouse.gov

(Background: this bill would reduce dedicated revenues in the event the Excise Board declares a revenue shortfall for the coming budget year. The reduction would be determined by the percentage amount of the shortfall. For example, if the shortfall is 2%, then dedicated revenues would also be reduced by 2% instead of the amount determined at the previous June meeting of the excise board.)

These dedicated revenues include the funds that are dedicated to the Teacher Retirement System every year, and they average about $300 Million. A 2% shortfall would mean a cut of $6 Million--enough to fund the agency for an entire year. 

Monies that go to the TRS are not simply discretionary funds that may be the situation of some of the other agencies. The dedicated revenue to the TRS can be considered the Actuarially Determined Employer Contribution (ADEC) formerly referred to as the ARC-Actuarially Required Contribution. The ADEC is determined as the employer contribution amount necessary to discharge the UAAL based on the actuarial value of assets over a period equal to the funding period for the current actuarial valuation, or more simply, the amount of contribution needed to meet the debt obligation on a future benefit. 

Capping the contributions at this point would be detrimental to the forward path that the TRS has taken in recent years, and jeopardize retirement security for future retirees.

Failure to properly fund TRS in the past created the disastrous situation TRS was in just a decade ago. We must benefit from the lessons of history. Thank you for all that you do.

If you would like information about attending the Teacher Walkout, please visit http://standwithteachers.org/

Have a blessed Easter from the Staff at OREA!

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