BY World's Editorial Writers
Friday, May 16, 2008
5/16/08 at 3:42 AM
Retirement reform will build trust
Two local Republicans — Sen. Mike Mazzei and Rep. Dan Sullivan — deserve credit for a common-sense law that goes into effect later this year.
The new law limits the state's elected officials from earning more from the state's retirement system than they did while they were in office.
Sure enough, it was happening, and it was completely legal.
For example, former state Auditor and Inspector Clifton Scott, a good man and as honest a public servant as you will find during his years in office, was receiving nearly $147,000 a year in retirement pay.
As auditor the most he ever earned was $83,510.
Scott said the system didn't make any sense, but it would have been foolish for him not to take advantage of it, and it's hard to argue with that.
The bad law cost the state as much as $20 million, an actuarial study showed.
Still, the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System had to work two years to get the problem fixed.
With Gov. Brad Henry's signature last week, the law goes on the books. It will take effect three months after the Legislature adjourns.
The goofy retirement law was the sort of thing that undermines public confidence in state government.
In fact, state government is for the most part honest and purchased at a bargain price by state taxpayers.
Eliminating the loophole will make it a little easier to convince people of that point in the future.