Another Measure 66 & 67 coming?

by NW Spotlight

Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian is reporting that the public employee union group, Our Oregon, is contemplating a set of ballot measures that look a lot like Measures 66 and 67.

“The votes on Measures 66 and 67 show clearly that Oregonians want to fund their schools and critical services,” Our Oregon spokesman Scott Moore said, “and they believe that big corporations and the wealthy can do a little more.”

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Posted by at 07:29 | Posted in State Taxes | 17 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Bob Clark

    The last campaign for measures 66 and 67 spoke of how class sizes would be kept intact.  Instead, what actually seems to have materialized is increased class sizes and increased compensation for school administrators and teachers; where now for example, the average compensation rate for a Portland Public Schools’ teacher is $100k and growing.  By comparison, there are lot of state employees with just as much responsibility and professional expertise as school teachers whose total compensation is only in the $60 to $70k range; and they work year round.

    So, a more equitable tax measure might be to levy a surcharge on teachers’ compensation in excess of $75k per year.  Let’s do it for the children, instead of to the children. (remember this when you see the OEA union label.)

    But really:
    I think if Oregon can just keep its rates constant, also letting measure 66 surcharge decline as scheduled, and bear some short term fiscal discipline; it will excel economically in the medium to long term (5 years or so) as it will be much more competitive as a place of business and employment relative to its neighboring states of California and Washington.  Fiscal discipline is really what would be doing it for the children.

  • JoelinPDX

    Gee, the union goons have found another way to stick it to the people…by people I’m referring to all of the people who are smart enough not to join the unions. The union goons have to find some way to punish them.

  • Justsaying

    Clearly 100K is not a living wage. These tireless workers need more money and this proves it.

  • AlanH

    The number of teachers in Portland making $100k is small when compared to statewide numbers and should not be used to justify any MORE cuts to education regardless of how the public views it should be spent. The highest paid teachers have PhD’s, many years of experience, and take on extra duties; don’t compare them to workers w/ a B.A. or less. This harsh and comment about “overpaid” teachers is a right wing attempt to divide the working class against itself and undercut support for essential social services such as public education. Don’t be mislead public education is an essential investment (more than an expense) in a healthy and thriving community.

  • Rob DeHarpport

    Alan H.,
      Public education is an investment, it should be an investment in our children’s education. A education that serves all of our kids, regardless of what there goals in life may be. How many children are we failing that do not belong in a college or university? It takes a dedicated student to succeed in college- 2 of three who enter never receive a degree. However, back to “investing”- as with any investment one should look at that investment closely. Examine your possible return on “your investment.” In the case of Oregon k-12 public education, many of the the taxpayers “investment dollars” simply never reach the intended target- “The Kids.” Taxpayers must ask this: Would you “invest” in a private company or scheme that dedicates 25-30% of that investment into a Employee retirement fund? If you are fine with that would you be OK with maybe 28-33% of those investment dollars going into the employee retirement plans? As a “investor” would you be OK with the fact that long-time (pre 1996 hires) employees pay nothing out of pocket to their retirement plans? Then the next question to the “investor” would be does it make sense to guarantee these same employees a 8% annual return PLUS a 2% annual COLA upon retirement PLUS a medical retirement package valued at say $15,000 annually- All paid by of course- “the investor.”
      What sort of “investment” are we truly making when because of this “retirement plan” that our “investments” are tied to by law are failing the investments targeted return? How are the kids (investments) benefiting when schools are forced to drop program after program just to assure that the 10%+ guaranteed retirement plan is paid for first? Many schools cannot offer any vocational education and other programs many of us “investors” once took for granted. Many school districts can’t even afford basic building and grounds maintenance.
      There are thousands of public employees all across the country retiring on plans similar to Oregon PERS Tier1 plan- essentially many are retiring with a retirement income equivalent to someone who saved (invested) $1.5 million dollars. The amazing fact is that most NEVER invested a dime into their own plan- WE invested for them, and we continue “investing” for them to assure that cozy guarantee.
       I certainly do not begrudge anyone a decent wage or pension. Believe me there are teachers who are grossly underpaid- and those who are overpaid as is true in many sectors of the economy.
      Our children are simply not getting the quality education that our “investments” should guarantee for one simple reason- PERS.
       Good luck with the latest scheme to dump another tax “for the children” on Oregonians. In the meantime examine what we sort of return WE are really getting on OUR investment.

    • valley person

      ” In the case of Oregon k-12 public education, many of the the taxpayers
      “investment dollars” simply never reach the intended target- “The Kids.””

      The kids are reached through the teachers, most of whom have also been educated on the taxpayer dollar. And the kids sit in desks in buildings paid for by the taxpayer.

      If we want high quality individuals to teach, we have to pay them at a rate comparable to other well educated professionals. If they prefer more pension later over more pay now, then that is what it takes.  If we want better outcomes on our investment, we may need to invest more.

      • Rob DeHarpport

         Valley, The problem is the fact that PERS shortfalls must be funded by cutting programs and/or laying of teachers. Until recently they have had it both ways- pay increases and full funding of PERS. Sadly, the young teachers will never reap the generous PERS Tier 1 benefits- yet their salaries are being frozen and/or cut in order to fund the beast known as PERS. At least another increased PERS cost is predicted of 3.5% in 2013- this follows a 5.8% increase in PERS costs in 2011.
           In a state with record high unemployment, vast untouchable renewable resources and an aging population just who do you plan on taxing or having “invest” at a higher rate?
          Just as Measures 66 & 67 promised to keep class sizes optimal and the Federal Stimulus package helped save some teaching jobs- class sizes and programs continue to be cut, teachers continue to be laid-off. At what point does PERS become untenable? Many believe we have already reached that point.
          Many school district are already paying 30%+ of payroll into PERS. Payroll is typically 85-90% of school budgets. Imagine if PERS were funded at 6% similar to a defined contribution pension- wouldn’t that 24%+ benefit our kids education? There are no easy solutions- perhaps PERS will eventually be the only thing taxpayers are funding.

        • Justsaying

          I know a guy who retired to AZ and gets about 100K a year from PERS and all he ever did was teach high school. If he lives to age 85, let’s say, he will have been paid 3 million dollars for doing absolutely nothing! Does this really make any sense? And was his “work” in the classroom worth an extra 3 mil?? I wonder…

          • Rob DeHarpport

             According
            to Stanford and California Common Sense studies, over the past 12 years
            state spending on higher education has increased just 30 percent.
            Spending on the retirement benefits for government employees has grown
            more than 10 times as…See More
            Dakin Sloss: California college students protesting budget cuts miss the mark – San Jose Mercury Newwww.mercurynews.com

        • valley person

           First Rob, we don’t have record high unemployment. Our unemployment rate was much higher during the Reagan Administration, and it was higher 2 years ago than today.

          Second, I agree the young teachers of today are paying for the overly generous PERS their predecessors got. Its a problem we have to work our way through over time unfortunately. THere are some things that can be done now,but chopping off contracted benefits isn’t among the options. 

          Public education takes public resources. If you want good outcomes you have to pay for it. We can tax ourselves a bit higher to accomplish that. its a mater of will and priorities, not means. 

  • NAFTA Refugee

    I have kids in the system. You don’t deserve another damn dime.

  • Theteacher

    Hey everyone. Wake up. Teachers like me have chosen the profession to help kids. Plus we work hard and don’t really make that much, so these PERS benefits are simply wages we should have gotten all along. Please do not begrudge us our earned benefits.
    Try teaching some time if you think it is so easy. Plus, we are professionals like doctors and lawyers and they make a lot of money, don’t they?
    Plus, I have a Master’s Degree.

    • stop the whining

      Your hamsters decree is full of OEA phill our PERSonality.  Wake up and  de-certify your cr8tzy 8gentzy. 

    • Rob DeHarpport

       A 10% increase in PERS costs in 4 years! Plus increases in wages??? Who in this world today has received anything even remotely close to that? Valley, obviously you are a true koll-aide drinker if you actually believe that todays unemployment is lower that the recession from the Reagan years. Lets get serious.
       

      • Rob DeHarpport

        Highly qualified and effective Teachers are valued and underpaid in my opinion. However just the fact that someone has a Masters Degree does not necessarily always correlate with being an effective Teacher. I believe there is a Georgetown U. study regarding this. Also I found this brief article interesting:               
        The Education School Master’s Degree Factory

        By Paul E. Peterson

        04/04/2011

        9 Comments | Print | NO PDF | Share

        One of the most straightforward ways school districts can obtain
        cost savings without harming students is to eliminate extra pay for
        teachers who earn a master’s degree. Simply by giving up the extra
        payment for the master’s degree, school districts in Florida could save
        better than 3 percent of their teaching personnel costs without losing
        any of their classroom effectiveness. In a paper just published in the Economics of Education Review, Matthew Chingos and I look at the characteristics of effective 4th through 8th grade teachers in Florida over the period 2002 to 2010.

        We found that teachers with an M. A. degree were no more effective,
        on average, than teachers who lacked such a degree.  Further, we found
        out that it did not make any difference from which public university in
        Florida a teacher had earned the degree.  None of them had an
        educational program that correlated with a teacher’s classroom
        effectiveness.

        Yet a teacher who has taught for 10 years will earn 6.5 percent more
        (or about $2500), if he or she has collected that extra diploma.  Since
        about half the teachers have pursued that advanced degree—given the
        extra dollars, why not?—the state could save better than 3 percent of
        its teaching personnel costs by eliminating this useless feature of the
        teacher compensation scheme.

        Even pension costs could be reduced, as teachers’ pensions are
        generally set at the level they earned in the last few years of
        teaching. For that reason, some teachers take the time to get a master’s
        degree just before they retire.  I do not fault the teachers, just the
        silly compensation system that provokes such choices.

        Since the state subsidizes the master’s degree training programs by
        offering them to teachers at a tuition that is lower than cost, even
        more money can be saved. If the extra compensation for the master’s
        degree were eliminated, the only people pursuing such a degree would be
        those seriously interested in obtaining that additional education for
        its own sake.  Enrollments in schools of education would plummet, and
        the taxpayer would not have to pony up additional dollars to keep alive
        programs of dubious value.

        Nor is the situation confined to Florida.  Most every school district
        pays extra for a master’s degree, and all the state-of-the-art research
        on this subject is finding exactly what we found in Florida.

        The extra pay for the master’s degree is an accident of collective
        bargaining history.  At one time, high school teachers were paid more
        than elementary school teachers.  When collective bargaining came along,
        it was decided—to keep all workers on the same pay scale, a primary
        union objective–to pay all teachers the same, except for experience and
        credentials. Since high school teachers were more likely to have a
        master’s degree, they agreed to this arrangement.  Al Shanker led the
        way in New York City, as I explain in my book, Saving Schools.
        Subsequently, elementary school teachers, seeing the financial benefits
        of holding such a degree, have caught up, and they are just about as
        likely to hold that advanced degree as their high school counterparts.

        – Paul E. Peterson

  • George

    We should all remember, that when discussing teacher salaries, there are only a few professions that REQUIRE this much extensive secondary education.  We require a Bachelor’s Degree + a teaching certificate for a full time teacher and require a Master’s Degree for an Administrative position.

    That being said, I do believe that the retirement fund is a little (a lot) out of whack and the health care coverage is very generous.  But mandates by our state and federal government don’t make it any easier for the tax payer.  Citing examples from the disasterous “No Child Left Behind” plan and the Governor’s most recent plan to mandate all day Kindergarten.  How do we pay for this stuff?  Cut teacher and close schools? 

    I would need to see concrete evidence that the average teacher compensation is 100K for any school district in Oregon, but I can agree that some creative thinking needs to be done by Administrators, teacher unions, politicians and tax payers alike.

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