2013-15 PERS Employer Contributions To Increase By $900 Million

On September 28, 2012, the Oregonian reported that the PERS Board voted unanimously to increase PERS employer contributions by $900 million for the July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2015 biennium.  During that during that two-year period school districts will be paying an average of 26.7% of their salary in PERS employer contributions.

That means that Oregon’s 900+ PERS participating employers will have no choice but to makes additional reductions in services starting July 1, 2013.  For schools, class sizes will increase and teaching days will decrease resulting in a lower quality education for Oregon’s children, who are the state’s future.

Why is this happening?  There is only one reason.  In 1971, 25 years after PERS first came into existence, the Oregon Attorney General ruled that legislators could join PERS.  From 1945 through 1970, legislators could not join PERS.  Non-PERS Oregonians had independent representation in the legislature when PERS laws were made.   During this period PERS benefits remained constant, 50% of final average salary after a full career.

After legislators were allowed to join PERS,  the non-PERS citizens of Oregon had no meaningful representation in thePERS law making process.  From 1971 to 1981, the PERS legislators more than doubled PERS benefits.  Then the PERS legislators forced Oregon’s judges to become PERS members, starting January 1, 1984.  Thereafter, PERS members in the legislature had 100% control over the making of all PERS laws and they used that control to make PERS funding Oregon’s highest financial priority.

Under that priority, PERS always gets paid first.  When there is not enough money to fully fund PERS and maintain services to the people of Oregon, PERS gets fully funded and services get cut.  That is why PERS employer rates are increasing by $900 million for the 2013-15 biennium and that is why government services will be cut back during that same period to pay for the $900 million increase in PERS funding.

If you are concerned about this PERS priority, ask the people who are running to represent you in the legislature if they are PERS members and, if elected, will they join PERS as legislators.  And then ask them what they are going to do about it.

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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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One Response to 2013-15 PERS Employer Contributions To Increase By $900 Million

  1. Pingback: Two New Posts on Oregon PERS! | Brookings Harbor Tea Party

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