UPDATE 2: The Fight To Reinstate Ballot Measure 8

On October 26, 2010, I filed a claim for refund of property taxes in the Oregon Tax Court.  The claim for refund is based on the argument that Ballot Measure 8, which was adopted by the people of Oregon in 1994 and which prohibited public employers from picking up their employee’s PERS contributions, is still the law of Oregon. 

In 1996, the Oregon Supreme Court, by a 4 to 3 vote, held that Ballot Measure 8 was unconstitutional.   All seven of the court justices were PERS members but they said that it was impossible to appoint non-PERS judges to hear the case so they could do it, even thought they had a direct, financial stake in the outcome of the case.  I am arguing that the court could have appointed non-PERS judges to hear it and therefore, the court’s decision is void and it never had any legal effect.  It was DOA on the June 25, 1996, the day the decision was filed.

The first issue that will have to be decided is who will hear my case.  I have filed motions in the tax court to disqualify all of the tax court judges because they are all in PERS.  When the State tries to take our property, we have a federal constitutional right to have the case decided by an independent judge.  The Oregon Supreme Court will have to make a decision regarding this question and if the justices find that it is impossible to appoint a non-PERS judge under existing Oregon law, then the law that put the Oregon judges into PERS in 1983 is unconstitutional.   It looks like they are between a rock and a hard place, a very hard place.

Something should happen in this case by the first of December.  I will continue to post updates.


About Dan Re

I am an attorney who has lived in Bend and practiced law since 1981. In educating myself about the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), I was shocked at how the PERS laws were changed by the legislature, once legislators were allowed to join PERS in 1971, 26 years after PERS was first created. Those changes personally benefitted the legislators who made them at the direct financial expense of the people they were elected to represent. That is wrong and I intend to change it. In 2009, I started a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation, In RE The People, Inc., for the purpose of informing concerned citizens of what happened regarding PERS and other issues of social and civic importance. I then created this blog to further that objective.
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