Ballot Measure 8 was passed by the people of Oregon in November, 1994. It made three changes to the PERS laws: (1) it prohibited public employers from paying their employees PERS contributions and made the employees pay the contributions themselves; (2) it eliminated the guaranteed 8% minimum assumed rate of return on PERS accountant; and, (3) it prohibit the use of unused sick leave in computing a PERS member’s final salary for pension computation purposes. In June, 1996, the Oregon Supreme Court, by a vote of 4 to 3, held that Ballot Measure 8 violated the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution.
On September 20, 2010, I filed a claim for refund of property taxes with the Oregon Department of Revenue. The claim argues that property taxes used to pay employee PERS contribution is prohibited by the Ballot Measure 8 and that the Oregon Supreme Court case which invalidated Ballot Measure 8 is void because all of the judges of the Supreme Court were PERS members and that disqualified them from hearing the case.
The court did note that the justices were PERS members but held that they could hear the case because all judges in Oregon had the same conflict. That, however, may not have been correct.
I have also requested that my claim be decided by a non-PERS person. When the State takes property, the person whose property is being taken has the right under the U.S. Constitutional to an independent decision maker.
It will be a long, complicated fight but this case raises issues concerning the constitutional rights of the citizens of Oregon. Those issues need to be addressed. They are fundamental and are worth fighting for.