Republicans offer compromise PERS reform proposal

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Oregon Senate Republicans, Oregon House Republicans

Salem, OR – As part of on-going discussions, Republicans have released another proposed set of Public Employee Retirement system reforms that would save classrooms and local governments over $1.3 billion over the next two years.

“Successful PERS reforms will put teachers back into classrooms, cops back into patrol cars, and keeps seniors in their homes longer,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “This proposal accomplishes those things in a fair, reasonable and constitutional way. We are serious about finding a compromise, bi-partisan solution that provides local communities with relief.”

The Republican proposal provides relief to local communities within the tight constraints of what Democrats said they could agree to. The proposal recognizes that the savings of SB 822 are not significant enough to make new investments in classrooms and other critical services, which Republicans believe should be the benchmark of successful PERS reforms.

“We need to fix PERS. Senate Bill 822 did not fix PERS,” said House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte). “This legislature has an opportunity and an obligation to do more than just stop the bleeding. For too long education at all levels has been forced to cut teachers and school days in order to pay the unreasonable parts of the PERS bill. Now is the time to put resources back into the classroom.”

Republicans pointed out that in light of the May revenue forecast that gives the state almost $1.5 billion in total increased revenue, new taxes are no longer needed to balance the budget. Republicans continue to work with Democrats on proposals to increase taxes, but the primary focus of discussions should be on reforming a broken PERS system in an effort to save local community budgets.

“It is clear that the legislature has enough revenue to meet the basic needs of the state,” said Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood). “What remains important is fixing PERS for future generations, and giving tax certainty to the small businesses that will lead our economy out of recession.”

The Republican PERS compromise reform proposal includes a progressive COLA limitation, benchmarking annuities for money match calculations to market rates, providing employers with flexibility on the pick-up, a 1% redirect of the IAP, ending pension spiking, using state agency PERS savings to pay down the unfunded liability and removing legislators and statewide elected officials from PERS. Republicans are also pushing a tax rate cut for small businesses.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Democrats to reach an agreement that positions Oregon for success now and in the future,” said Ferrioli. “Republicans have consistently demonstrated willingness to compromise when it comes to total PERS reform savings and other closely held ideals, and are optimistic that if Democrats are willing to adopt a similar spirit, a bi-partisan solution that is good for Oregon can be reached.”

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  • Karen

    I am a teacher and I am underpaid and overworked, so I don’t see how articles like this will help any. Maybe people don’t know that I am a professional with hundreds of hours of hard study to learn how to do what I do. I get to work at 7:30 AM and start working with students by 8:45. Then I only have one prep period for 52 minutes and one lunch of only 33 minutes. Then I work again with students all the way to 3:00 PM. By the time I get home at 3:45 I am exhausted. And all this for over 175 days of the year! You try it if you think it is easy. And I only make 63,000 per year (plus some benefits).
    No wonder teachers are leaving the profession. Everyone is beating up on us for wanting a living wage when we retire after working for 30 years!!
    Leave my PERS alone! It is in my contract. I earned it.

    • guest

      Specious K, you repeat yourself! (A Problem Bigger Than PERS, OC /CPI, May 27) near the bottom of commentary with a complimentary byte on your butt.

      So here you go again, hoping your ‘scream’ will rise to the top?

      Wail, don’t be surprised to find Mother Merry Margaret Superior standing behind you with bottle of lisperine gargle and a tootbrush for your swilly tongue-in-chic assumption !

  • WashCoIndependents.com

    Its unfortunate the Republican Party is unwilling to alter it’s social conservative platform. I understand that the party base feels strongly about that agenda, and wouldn’t try to argue that anyone should abandon their most strongly held principles, or even argue that you’re wrong, since such argument is fruitless.

    But the reality is, those platform positions are a deal breaker for a lot of us.

    While I’d like to vote for candidates with more prudent fiscal views and who aren’t so beholden to public employee union leadership, I can’t as long as those candidates also vow to vote socially conservative on matters I believe involve civil liberties and constitutional rights.

    What to do….What to do…..

    • guest

      Simple principle, support what’s in our basic Constitution, not what’s left of US demanding ever more socialism that erodes the fiscal health of the great one already set in place by our forefathers. .

      “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” – Ronald Reagan

      • WashCoIndependents.com

        Thanks for the response. Without trying to put words in your mouth, my observation is that Republicans who are more liberal on social issues are generally Libertarian and have a very narrow view of what government can even do. Hence the narrow definition of what they believe the constitution allows, which I don’t agree is all that simple.

        • guest

          Write back with a review after reading “The Terrible Truth About Liberals” by Neal Boortz

          You may find your political inclination more in line with the commoner sense contained therein.

  • kneedferspeed

    Where is the language that insures this windfall from cutting PERS goes to teachers, not admin salaries, more field trips, more free lunches, etc. This whole cut PERS help schools cry smells like a crusade hiding behind “fund education” “it’s for the kids” B.S. with little or no financial controls.