OPEA Supports 2021 Budget Proposal and Senate COLA Vote

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association (OPEA) supports the Fiscal Year 2021 state budget passed by the House and Senate yesterday, despite the reductions in funds for core services, saying the association’s members expect state leaders to restore funding when state revenues sufficiently improve.

“During this unprecedented time, our members understand the need to reduce budgets because of revenue shortfalls,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “We don’t’ want to see core services that Oklahomans depend on reduced but we recognize the difficult task legislators have in balancing next year’s budget. Our members now urge Gov. Stitt to sign this budget into law.”

“We also appreciate members of the public pensions who have some of their apportioned funds redirected to help limit the size of the cuts,” he said. “It’s a great help to be able to use some of those appropriated funds to fill the budget hole without jeopardizing the health of the pension plans.”

“It is now time to pass and implement the public retiree pension cost of living adjustment (COLA) to help retired state employees, educators, law enforcement personnel and firefighters. House Bill 3350 is desperately needed by retirees but the COLA will also improve local economies because retirees spend their pensions in their communities,” he said. ”The COLA is the right thing to do for our retirees and state economy. We strongly urge the passage of House Bill 3350.”

“Our members hope the legislature will act quickly to restore these reductions as soon as Oklahoma’s revenue picture improves, “ Zearley said. “State employees continue to serve during this crisis and they are key to Oklahoma’s recovery. We must give them adequate resources to carry out their mission in a safe manner but we understand the difficult times we’re in.”


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