House Republicans introduce bill to have public employees pay their fair share of PERS

Oregon House Republicans Introduce Pers Reform Bill To Limit ‘Pick-Up’ Of Employee Contributions

Bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Katie Eyre Brewer, notes that by having public employees pay more of their fair share of PERS, it will free up more state funding for schools

SALEM—House Republicans have introduced a PERS reform bill to limit the amount a public employer can agree to pay towards an employee’s individual account program.  HB 3218 reduces the PERS employer “pick-up” from six to three percent for future collective bargaining agreements, including the one currently being negotiated between the Governor and the public employee unions.

The concept is similar to a recommendation from former Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s Reset Cabinet, and is similar to a proposal that Gov. John Kitzhaber made to a major public employee union yesterday during collective bargaining negotiations.

“PERS costs continue to consume larger shares of state and local budgets,” said Rep. Katie Eyre Brewer (R-Hillsboro), the bill’s chief sponsor. “State and local governments can no longer afford to pick-up the entire six percent of employee contributions toward individual accounts.  By limiting the PERS pick-up, we can re-direct significant savings to education and other important services.”

The Governor’s Reset Report suggests that reducing the PERS pickup from three to six percent could save $132 million in the 2011-13 biennium for state and school employees combined.

“This PERS reform bill recognizes our valuable front-line employees and represents a reasonable compromise for future collective bargaining agreements,” said House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron (R-Salem). “HB 3218 is a first step toward bringing public employee pensions and benefits in line with the private sector.  It will save taxpayer dollars and help protect state and local governments from rising PERS costs.”

HB 3218 has been referred to the House Business and Labor Committee.  Capping the employer pick-up at three percent is part of the House Republicans’ 2011 Jobs and Reform Agenda.