Brian Massie, Citizen Journalist
We received the following information from a Lake County Lobbyist that is a government worker in the City of Cleveland. The issue at hand is the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the proposed changes in House Bill 512 that will increase the Ohio Police & Fire Pension (OP&F).
A very interesting statistic was mentioned in the testimony. The Local Government Funds, a subject on which we just recently published an article, was reduced from 3.68% of the State budget to just 1.66%. This was reduced by former Governor Kasich when he balanced the State budget on the backs of the local governments. Remember what the government gives, the government can take away.
Brian, attached is today’s testimony from some organizations furnishing opponent testimony concerning OP&F public retirement system. I suspect this bill will pass soon in Ohio. I just wanted to send some information to you so you could see that if passed the police would be getting an increase in their pension system by going from 19.5 to 26.5 equaling a 36 percent employer contribution increase. Creating a huge disparity for (OPERS) Ohio public employee retirement systems participants in Ohio.
Signed Lake County Lobbyist / November 17, 2022
Here is testimony by Keary McCarthy, Executive Director of the Ohio Mayors Alliance.
Excerpt from Keary McCarthy’s testimony:
Chair Brinkman, Vice Chair Lampton, Ranking Member Miranda, Members of the Ohio House Insurance Committee, my name is Keary McCarthy, and I am the Executive Director of the Ohio Mayors Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of mayors in Ohio’s 30 largest cities. On behalf of the over 3.4 million Ohioans that live in our communities, we submit the following testimony to outline our concerns about the significant fiscal impacts House Bill 512 will have on our residents and potentially our current public safety personnel.
As we have shared with the bill sponsors, we are submitting this testimony as an interested party because we share their desire to make sure that the Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F) is fiscally sound, well- managed, and provides stability for future retirees. But we are deeply concerned with the approach proposed in HB 512, which puts the entire burden of OP&F’s solvency solely on the backs of Ohio’s local governments and taxpayers. It does so by mandating an unprecedented 36 percent increase in the municipal employer contribution rate for police and a 10 percent increase for firefighters. [LFC added emphasis]
The cost of HB 512 is so significant that it would nearly wipe out the total annual allocation provided to Ohio’s cities through the Local Government Fund. According to the Ohio Department of Tax, the municipal allocation of the LGF in 2021 was $197.8 million. HB 512 will cost cities $116.9 million once fully phased in, per the LSC fiscal note. To be clear, this is just a comparison of the increase amount compared to the LGF allocation. The total employer contribution amount by cities to OP&F would dwarf the state Local Government Fund allocation. This is in part because the LGF has been dramatically reduced in the past decade from a ratio of 3.68 percent of the state’s total general revenue fund to just 1.66 percent.
Here is another opponent testimony from Ahmed Abonamah, Chief Financial Office of the City of Cleveland.