Pension plans: Oklahoma reform sparks opposition

Pension plans for Oklahoma public workers would convert to work like a 401(k) retirement plan under one proposal.

ZUMA Press/Newscom/File
Oklahoma City firefighters investigate the scene of a house fire in 2009. A coalition of firefighters, educators, and other public employees opposes a new proposal that would switch their pension plans to a system similar to 401(k)s.

A coalition of educators, firefighters and other public employees say they're worried about proposed changes to the state's public pension systems.

Members of the Public Pension Coalition on Tuesday discussed the plan to alter the state's defined benefit system to a defined contribution system for new state workers.

Under a defined benefit plan, retirees receive a set monthly amount based on the length of service and salary. In a defined contribution plan, employers contribute a percentage of income to a fund that's more market-dependent, like existing 401(k) retirement plans.

Legislative leaders have said overhauling the state's pension system will be a priority next year. The state's seven public pension plans have an estimated $15 billion in unfunded liability.

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