HOUSE REPUBLICANS RENEW CALLS FOR REFORM AS
PERSONNEL COSTS INCREASE STRAIN ON STATE BUDGET
SALEM— House Republicans today renewed calls for reform after legislative budget analysts estimated that personnel costs, including those under the new collective bargaining agreement, will exceed what was originally budgeted for the 2011-13 biennium. Analysts estimate that compensation costs will increase 7.4 percent rather than the budgeted 6 percent. This will result in a $122 million total funds deficit in the current state budget.
“The cost of these compensation increases are taking money away from education, public safety and human services,” said Rep. Katie Eyre Brewer (R-Hillsboro). “While the Governor deserves credit for working to curb these costs, the bill will be paid by average Oregonians who aren’t receiving pay raises and other benefits that are included in current and past collective bargaining agreements.”
Rep. Eyre Brewer and other House Republicans introduced legislation during the 2011 session to eliminate or reduce the six percent PERS “pick-up” and other measures to reduce escalating costs. While the Governor successfully negotiated a health care premium contribution from union members, a Republican priority, legislative Democrats did not allow the reforms to pass.
“House Republicans will continue to introduce reforms that will make state government more fiscally sustainable and affordable to Oregon taxpayers,” said House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron (R-Salem). “This increase in anticipated compensation costs speaks volumes to the need for a long-term approach to budgeting, one that factors in roll-up costs and other impacts of today’s decisions on tomorrow’s budgets.”