by NW Spotlight
PERS is unsustainable and it’s crippling budgets for school districts and local governments across the state, but Gov. Kitzhaber can’t get the Democrats to vote to fix it because they are so thoroughly owned by the public employee unions.
Governor Kitzhaber believes can shave $5 billion off of the PERS unfunded liability – he just needs to get his own Democrats on board.
Toss a bone #1: To get the public employee unions to not go after Democrats in their primaries, Kitz is going to try to buy them off with about $211 million in new net “revenue” (taxes, fees, etc.). That’s on top of the staggering $2 billion increase in the session that ended a few months ago. The state’s General & Lottery funds’ budget went from $14.7 billion to $16.7 billion. That $2 billion increase was accomplished without a tax increase – it just took an improving economic outlook.
Toss a bone #2: To be able to raise taxes to buy off the public employee unions, Gov. Kitzhaber needs some Republican votes. To get those votes, he’s offering tax breaks for small and family businesses and certain agricultural exporters.
Imagine how much easier this would all be if the Democrats weren’t so thoroughly owned by the public employee unions.