At the August meeting of the State Teachers Retirement Board, executive director Michael Nehf provided an update on the status of pension legislation that is pending before the Ohio House of Representatives. Nehf told the board that the House Health and Aging Subcommittee on Retirement and Pensions held several hearings on pension bills during the summer. On Aug. 8, Nehf presented STRS Ohio's pension reform proposal to the subcommittee and responded to questions from its members.
Nehf told the subcommittee that STRS Ohio's changes are necessary to preserve the pension fund and acknowledged that the board-approved plan has the support of the Healthcare and Pension Advocates for STRS — a coalition that is comprised of groups of active members, retirees and employers. The STRS Ohio plan increases age and service requirements for retirement; calculates pensions on a lower, fixed formula; increases the period for determining final average salary; increases member contributions to the system; reduces the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA); defers the COLA for future retirees; and calls for no COLA to be added in fiscal year 2014.
Now that all five statewide pension systems have made presentations to the subcommittee, this body is hearing testimony from proponents, opponents and interested parties. House leadership has indicated that it plans to hold additional hearings in August and early September and expects to take action on the bills in September.