TEACHER THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CURRENT RETIREMENT SYSTEM
In a state where teacher pay is not competitive, a good retirement pan is imperative to the recruitment and retention of quality teachers. A good retirement pan is therefore not just a benefit for our teachers…it is a critical component of a quality education for our children.
I want to thank the State Senate for recognizing this, and inviting us here today to discuss our views of the needs of OTRS.
When teachers in Oklahoma are asked why they remain in a state where teacher pay is among the lowest in the nation, their reply usually includes the presence of family in the state, the love of teaching, and their teacher’s retirement plan. Among the most prominent reasons for a good teacher to remain in education is the security promised in retirement.
That security, a last benefit for public educators, is at grave risk.
What do the citizens of Oklahoma receive in return for an investment in teacher’s retirement?
Every dollar paid to a retired teacher has a multiplier effect on the economy of Oklahoma, with both a direct and indirect effect on the number of jobs available in our state. Retirement dollars support retailers, and the real estate market, pay property taxes and indirect business taxes. Each dollar spent on a retiree ultimately returns $2.36 to the state’s economy.
Attached are several tables produced by the National Institute on Retirement Security for your review. While the data identifies the impact of all public employees and their pension plans, it is important to note that teachers comprise a significant portion of this data.
Teachers dedicate their lives working with Oklahoma’s children to build a bright future for Oklahoma.
In return the state has promised to provide a critical, reliable source on income for teachers upon retirement. The economic impact of teacher pension plans reaches far beyond retirees, as the retired have a significant and positive impact upon our economy.