by Dan Lucas
There has been some good news from Oregon PERS recently. A week ago actuaries let the PERS board know that the PERS unfunded liability had dropped from $16.3 billion in 2011 to $8.5 billion in 2013. The $7.8 billion reduction in the unfunded liability was achieved by $6.4 billion in better returns on PERS investments (on the $68 billion PERS fund) and as a result of 2013 legislative changes (SB 822 & 861) that lowered projected retiree benefits.
All of that meant that the dramatic increases in employer contribution rates have slowed considerably. Ted Sickinger at the Oregonian reported “the average base contribution rate for public employers is set to creep up by only 1 percentage point of payroll.” That’s good news for employers who contribute to PERS – school districts, the state and local governments. Continue reading
Press Release (from Mark Fitz)
DAMASCUS, Ore. – Planning Commission Chairman successfully challenges City Ballot Title for a Citizen Initiative Comp Plan on the grounds that it was potentially confusing to voters.
On July 3rd, Mark Fitz, Damascus Planning Commission Chair, acting as a citizen of Damascus, filed a complaint against a given ballot title for a Citizen Initiative Plan. On July 29th, 2014 Clackamas County Judge Robert Herndon issued a revised ballot title after hearing oral arguments before his Court on July 28th.
Judge Herndon ruled in favor of some of Fitz’s arguments, redrafting portions of the ballot measure question and summary. Continue reading
Right From the Start
This weekend’s Meet the Press edition brought a remarkable comment from the network that is President Barack Obama’s chief apologist. The assertion was that the train wreck that is Mr. Obama’s foreign policy is to be expected as America searches for its “leadership” role in a post-military dominated effort. I have no idea what David Gregory or the rest of the Obama supporters on Meet the Press were trying to convey and my guess is that they didn’t either. It appears too much in the nature of Vice-President Joe Biden’s ill-fated assessment of Mr. Obama immediately before their assumption of office:
“Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.
“I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate. And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.” Continue reading
Sen. Betsy Close
Bi-partisan legislation enabled local prosecutor to increase charges on accused sex offender
Albany, OR – Last year, Senator Close Betsy Close (R-Albany/Corvallis) reached across the aisle to work with Democrat Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) on stronger penalties for sex trafficking crimes involving children. The legislation was adopted and signed into law, and last Friday an Albany man was charged under these new statutes.
“I commend Linn County District Attorney Doug Marteeny for using this tool to keep Albany families safe,” said Close. “No child should have to suffer through the horrors of a sex crime. I believe this new law will safeguard our homes and children by taking predators off the street and putting them behind bars where they belong.” Continue reading
Online Oregon Catalyst Poll:
The list of ballot measures have recently been certified for the 2014 General Election ballot. You can read briefly about the measures in the article Seven Measures Make Nov. Ballot. Please VOTE ON RIGHT HAND MARGIN of this website. You may leave comments below.
By Everet Rummel
A new issue faces Portland. City Hall is considering waiving development fees for developers of market-rate housing in the Old Town Chinatown district. Chinatown is Portland’s oldest neighborhood and has earned an unpleasant reputation. City Hall claims that waiving these fees, which cover a project’s impact on urban infrastructure, can stimulate building in Chinatown. In the past, only developers of so-called “affordable housing” have been granted this waiver. Continue reading
by Sen. Doug Whitsett
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was debated throughout much of 2009 and eventually enacted on a party line vote of Congress. The president signed Obamacare into law on March 23, 2010.
During the national debate leading up to that vote, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi infamously stated: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy”. More than four years later, the courts are still debating what is actually in the bill.
The Obamacare mandate requires certain people to purchase health care insurance or to pay a penalty. The administration adamantly and vocally claimed that this mandate was authorized under the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. It further argued that the Obamacare mandate is not a tax. Continue reading