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House Bill 2304 moves to the senate, proposing 4 percent cost of living increase to OK retirees

Posted: 10:04 PM, Mar 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-13 03:27:18Z
Bill passes house to help retirees

TULSA, Okla. — It's Lynn Stockley's fifth year of retirement after serving Tulsa Public Schools for more than four decades.

With House Bill 2304 moving to the senate, she soon could get a 4 percent cost of living adjustment to her pension. The former teachers tells 2 Works for You, making ends meet has always been a struggle.

"I did expect to live sort of a middle-income life and be able to send my kids to college. Well that wasn't true. We had to go into debt, they had to go into debt in order to do their college," Stockley said.

Still, Stockley said she's one of the lucky ones, and that a COLA increase is much needed for many struggling retirees such as those in their 80s and 90s.

"They are barely making a living wage, in fact some of them don't, they're in poverty if they've been retired for a long time," she said.

Teachers said the bill shows a changing culture around education in Oklahoma, and ultimately they hope it will bring more educators to the state.

"We were heard last year, our kids are being heard, and this legislative group along with Governor Stitt seems to be doing the proper things to help education and to put us back where we belong in Oklahoma," Union High School teacher Jim Douthat said.

Compared to surrounding states, Douthat said the plan is small. In Missouri public employees received close to a 25 percent hike in a cost of living adjustment over the same amount of time.

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