In July, 2010, Governor Kulongoski announced the formation of a Reset Cabinet to work on solutions to Oregon’s financial crisis. Information regarding the Reset Cabinet and the reason for its creation can be found at http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/governor_reset_cabinet/reset_state_govt.shtml. Under the topic Analysis: Fiscal Crisis Facing Oregon and the Nation, specific information is given regarding the effect PERS has on Oregon’s deficit. It may increase the deficit by as much as one billion dollars a year.
The deficit increase caused by PERS is the result of laws created by PERS members in the legislature. Those laws have put the entire liability for all PERS losses on the backs of the people of Oregon by guaranteeing the state’s public employees that they will never suffer a loss in their retirement benefits, no matter what happens in the economy. If losses occur, the people of Oregon must pay more taxes and receive fewer benefits to make up all PERS losses.
While the people of Oregon certainly have the right to make that type of policy decision, the current policy was never approved by the people of Oregon. It was made by PERS members who control the Oregon legislature. The system that made public employees and their benefits the highest priority in Oregon is still controlled by PERS members. That system is fundamentally unfair. It has allowed PERS legislators to impose an unconscionable financial burden on Oregon’s non-PERS citizens for their own financial benefit. The system must be changed so that the interests of all Oregonians are fairly represented.