Demand action on PERS reform

kevin-cameron

Rep. Kevin Cameron (R-Salem)

There have been nearly 50 bills introduced that address, in some way, the PERS issue.  So far, there has been no substantial legislation that has received a hearing. I am co-sponsoring the below four bills that were introduced by Rep. Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg).

HB 3056 would limit the computation of “final average salary” to salary, rather than including unused sick time and vacation accruals.

HB 3057 would limit the COLA for PERS benefits to the first $36,000 of retirement income.

HB 3058 phases out the ability of employers to “pick-up” the employee’s 6% contribution into retirement accounts by 2020.

HB 3059 ends the practice of providing a supplemental benefit payment to offset income taxes for those who are not subject to Oregon income taxes.

It is my understanding that estimates of savings after instituting these reforms would be over $700 million per biennium. These alterations to the current process are important steps in the right direction to put PERS on sustainable footing for the future.

This is not a conversation about the worthiness of our public employees.  It is a conversation about the absolute proven unsustainability of this retirement system.  These bills deserve the opportunity to be heard, at the very least, in order to begin meaningful dialogue about how we are going to address this important issue in our state.  The impact that it is having to our school districts and local government budgets is devastating and hurting our kids, our seniors, our social service agencies, and public safety.  We must do better.

Thank you for taking a look at these PERS reform bills.

I encourage you to contact Rep. Margaret Doherty, Chair of the Business and Labor Committee, and ask her to schedule a hearing. She can be reached at 503-986-1435 or [email protected].

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in OR 77th Legislative Session, Oregon House, PERS | 24 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Native Ore private pensioner

    HB 3056 – Reduces a travesty grossly misused by mostly higher echelon.

    HB 3057 – A corrective step, note private pensions do not provide COLA.
    HB 3058 – Arbitrary matching, e.g., a 24/7 Econ 101 pothole in progress.
    HB 3059 – Curbs another obsequious inanity .

    MIA – Fairness in Oregon’s income taxing of all pensions – indeed, private pensions not exempt, public pensions somehow allowed to joy ride.

  • oregongrown

    Re: “These bills deserve the opportunity to be heard, at the very least”

    Given the staggering increases in PERS costs the fact that these completely reasonable solutions are having this hard a time even getting a hearing, shows how bad things are in Oregon.

    And still the estimated savings is $700 million a budget, or $350 million a year, doesn’t even cover the cost of the current increase for the current budget.

    For decades the practice of banking thousands of hours of sick, vacation and overtime and turn it into a huge residual, spiking these pensions 30-40% beyond what was ever fair or sustainable. And when some smart guy says that most retiring now are using Money Match, where these banks of hours aren’t used in the formula, it just shows what a mother-lode Money Match is.

    Many very reasonable fixes have been put forth. But still this one-party state, controlled by big government, is steeped in denial.

  • Richard Leonetti

    Another Maybe Not-So-Crazy PERS Fix

    Why not tax the PERS employer-paid payments, to get back some of the money, just like other income that is taxed? Set some limit, like $12,000, and then begin taxing all super-rich, now untaxed, fringe benefits above this limit including PERS and employer paid health care and private retirement payments. We would be plugging a big loophole, getting back some of the PERS costs and only affecting people with super-rich, now untaxed fringe benefits. This would be recognizing that excess fringe benefits are really income. It would still look like a giveaway to those who must pay their own retirement and health care with already taxed dollars because the un-taxed loophole would still exist up to $12,000 but it would be a little more fair.

  • mike

    I am a teacher who is underpaid. I went into teaching for 3 reasons. June, July, and August. Actually four, if you include PERS. I suffer now to reap the benefits later. It is called deferred gratification. I am a professional but make much less than doctors and lawyers, even though I work as hard as they do and have studied in college as much as they have. Retirement benefits are the only plus I have to even out the equation.

    If you take that from me, I will have to find another occupation and then what would happen to the children I work with each and every day (excpet for the190+ days a year we are not open?
    I think these people are making a big mistake. Big do you hear me?

    • marvinmcconoughey

      Not many (none that I know of) persons are advocating to “take that [pensions] from” you. Some adjustment is justified by the past distortions of PERS created by the PERS board and condoned by political leaders.

      Yes, you likely do make less than many, though not all, doctors and lawyers. You chose two conspicuously high-return fields for your comparison. Those fields, should you check, may have higher student attrition rates from first college entrance to final fully-qualified certificate.

      There are other college-degreed career fields that pay less than most teachers make. Your post left unclear whether your comparisons are based on earnings adjusted for the differences in work years between teaching and most other professions. If you do find another occupation, be sure that it is as enjoyable in other ways as your present job.

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