HEADLINES : Ohio
Ohio ready for pension reform
COLUMBUS - After waiting for more than two years, state lawmakers say they are now ready to consider reforms for the five public employee retirement systems that cover 1.7 million Ohio workers, retirees and beneficiaries.
Senate President Tom Niehaus, R-New Richmond, said he hopes to introduce five bills as early as next week - one for each pension system - to overhaul the benefits structure so that the retirement systems can meet their projected financial obligations during the next 30 years.
More than two years ago, the pension boards submitted new funding plans to the General Assembly that called for employees working longer for fewer pension benefits. The proposals do not call for taxpayers to pay more.
Niehaus said legislation is being drafted based on those plans and updated. "Our language simply reflects what the boards have asked us to do. Nothing more, nothing less."
The five pension systems cover general public employees, teachers, other school employees, Highway Patrol, police and firefighters.
The Ohio Public Employee Retirement System has included an "anti-spiking" provision in its plan to guard against workers jumping to high-paying jobs for just three years of their public service career and then collecting a pension based on the high salary. Lawmakers and other public officials often benefit from spiking when they move from being, for example, a township trustee to a state lawmaker or from a state lawmaker to a university official.