Sen. Tim Knopp and Rep. Jason Conger
Salem, OR – Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) along with Representative Jason Conger (R-Bend) are set to provide fiscal relief to communities struggling with spiraling Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) expenses. Oregon agencies have to cut their service because of staggering increases in retirement expenses. The bill (SB 651) will remove legislators from being members of PERS.
“For many communities, the price tag of PERS has forced them to make significant cuts in education, health, and public safety.” states Sen. Knopp. “Because of our budget crisis, we have a unique opportunity in Oregon to obtain real meaningful PERS reforms. Already this session, the Governor and Legislators have proposed changes in PERS. With this bill we are leading by example by fixing state legislators conflict of interest.”
Originally legislators weren’t allowed to join PERS. However during the 1975 legislative session there was a bill to reverse that rule. Many who study PERS, point to this specific waypoint where the retirement system became compromised.
“I have heard from many citizens who are concerned that the Legislature is biased when it considers PERS reforms because many legislators are also PERS members” Representative Conger reported. “Whether that is true or not, the public’s confidence and trust in our elected representatives is critical to a strong republic. By keeping legislators out of PERS, this bill will simply take a significant step to remove even the perception of conflict.”