Dems need more PERS reform


In case you missed it, the Senate Republican Office encourages you to read this op-ed
by The Oregonian Editorial Board

Oregon’s Republican legislators have made no secret of their desire for further reforms to the state’s public sector retirement system. Yet those in the Senate nixed a reform proposal pushed by Gov. John Kitzhaber late in this year’s session, and they haven’t exactly embraced the governor’s push for a PERS-reform special session in September. Are they nuts?

That wasn’t a rhetorical question, and the answer is “no.” They’re not nuts. In fact, the quid-pro-quo strategy Senate Republicans have adopted on PERS reform should be familiar to the majority party, which introduced the concept during the legislative session. The demands by both parties have nothing at all to do with PERS itself, of course, but the willingness of Republicans to force the issue now suggests that the minority party believes it has the upper hand, politically.

In this, Republicans could well be right. Democrats need additional PERS reform more than Republicans do for the simple reason that Democrats didn’t get the job done during the legislative session despite controlling both chambers and the governor’s office. Instead, the session produced only Senate Bill 822, which merely touches on the system’s underlying problems while saving only half the sum targeted earlier by the governor. The PERS board is poised to reduce the assumed earnings rate for the PERS fund to a more realistic level, eroding the long-term savings SB822 promised for cities, counties, school districts and other government agencies.

To read the rest of this op-ed, please click here