Representative Judy Stiegler was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in November, 2008. She assumed office on January 12, 2009. One of her first official acts was to join PERS as a legislative member.
During 2009, the legislature voted on eight PERS bills. All of those PERS bills passed but one, SB 897, was vetoed by the Governor. During the February 2010 special session of the legislature, the Governor’s veto of SB 897 was overridden.
Representative Stiegler voted in favor of all eight of the PERS bills and she also voted to override the veto of SB 897. She voted pro-PERS on every PERS bill. You could say that her PERS voting record was PERS-fect!
The PERS Board recently announced that the employer PERS contribution rates will double during the 2011 – 2013 biennium. This will cost Deschutes County governments millions of dollars that would have otherwise been used to provide services. School districts will have no choice but to cut back on educating children and cities will be forced to reduce police and fire protection. But there will be no cut back in PERS sending. In fact, it will be paid at an increased rate.
The PERS funding priority is the result of deliberate action taken by legislators who were PERS members and Representative Stiegler voluntarily joined their ranks. If you believe that PERS funding for public employee retirement benefits is more important than any thing else the State can use its tax dollars for, Representative Stiegler is a good choice in the November election. If you do not agree with that priority decision, you should carefully consider who you vote for.
As a general rule, PERS legislators vote for PERS almost all of the time. Currently, a majority of legislators in both the Senate and the House are PERS members. As long as that situation remains, it is not likely that the legislature will make significant PERS changes and without significant changes to PERS government services to Oregonians will continue to be reduced so that PERS retirement will be fully funded.