LFC Comments by Brian Massie
We received a call from a Lake County resident that works in Cuyahoga County.
The issue concerning the caller is the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS).
In being true to our mission, we are providing citizens with a platform to get their views out into the public square.
What a pleasure it was to speak to you by telephone conversation yesterday. I have attached some quick fact sheets that we have compiled. It is our hope that you will reference our pension research and get this information out to your subscribers and Lake County residents. We also hope that once you review our research then Lobbyist for Citizens might help assist us in this worthy cause in advocating for an employer contribution rate increase within Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.
We hope that your voice rings loud and continuous and that you might also concur with our research and even supply a letter of support for our labor organizations and OPERS board of trustees to see that we have support for our cause.
1. OPERS employer contribution rate has been capped off at 14 percent since 1976.
2. OPERS is not fully funded and is presently only slightly above 82 percent funded.
3. Funding of pension consist of employer and employee contributions and investment returns.
4. Over 800,000 OPERS member participants have taken benefit cuts in 2013 in order to fund pension by billions of dollars.
5. Employer contribution has been allowed not to be adversely affected because of capped off employer contribution rate which all members have received for decades of time.
6. Inflation, interest rate hikes and pension reform continue to eat in to members benefits that were promised.
7. Public employees contribute to fund and give public services for wages and pension benefits. OP&F seek to raise employer contribution to 26.5 a seven percent increase hike for police. [LFC Add: OP&F = Ohio Police and Fire]
8. Mary Beth Foley executive director for OP&F has testified to current H.B. 512 that members in the OP&F totaling around 60,000 members have lost and sacrificed over 3.2 billion in lost benefits during pension reform of 2013.
9. There is presently seven pension bills being considered in the General Assembly of Ohio, H.B. 512, 601, 611, 540, 541, 499, 562. Two of these bills have to do with employer contribution increases and transparency issues.
10. OPERS cannot increase employer contribution rates to exceed 14 percent, it must be done legislatively.
11. Taxpayers don’t fund pensions, contributions and investments are what fund pensions.
12. OPERS is presently not offering medical plans, but instead is only offering stipends to its retirees.
13. We would like to see an increase in employer contributions slightly with phase in of five years proportionally, similar to H.B. 512 and, in return. increase the funding of pensions and medical benefits for retirees. Conclusion: Increase employer contribution rate by say two to three percent over a five year interval in order to keep up with interest rates and inflation. This is a small number compared the H.B. 512 which calls for seven percent increase over five years.
Updated July 22, 2022
LFC Add: Here is the link to the OPERS website:
“The OPERS Board of Trustees — the governing body of the system — is responsible for the administration and management of OPERS. The board meets monthly to review and formulate policies concerning the members, contributors and benefit recipients of OPERS, and the OPERS office staff. Members of the OPERS Board of Trustees are elected to four-year terms. While elected by a specific group, all members of the Board of Trustees have a fiduciary duty to act SOLELY in the interest of ALL MEMBERS of the system, not just those that elected them.”
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If you have general, non-account specific questions about OPERS you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org