OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 8, 2011
Contact: Nick Smith
HOUSE REPUBLICANS OFFER PERS REFORMS TO
HOUSE BUSINESS AND LABOR COMMITTEE
SALEM—House Republicans today presented three bills to the House Business and Labor Committee aimed at reforming the Public Employees Retirement System. In addition to helping to bring state spending under control, the reforms eliminate conflicts of interest in the Legislature and address “double-dipping” among retired PERS members.
Rep. Katie Eyre Brewer (R-Hillsboro) testified in support of HB 3218 to limit the amount a public employer can agree to pay towards an employee’s individual account program. The bill reduces the PERS employer “pick-up” from six to three percent for future collective bargaining agreements.
“State and local governments can no longer afford to pick-up the entire six percent of employee contributions toward individual accounts,” Rep. Eyre Brewer said. “With this PERS reform, we can reduce costs to help balance budgets and direct more dollars to critical programs and services.”
Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) testified in support of HB 2989 to prohibit future legislators from becoming PERS members or participate in a state deferred-compensation plan. Rep. Richardson said the bill will eliminate potential conflicts of interest as the Legislature addresses issues relating to PERS.
“It’s irresponsible for legislators to oversee PERS at the same time they are benefitting from the state pension system,” Rep. Richardson said. “This bill will eliminate conflicts of interest and will require legislators to objectively manage PERS for Oregon taxpayers.”
Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) testified in support of HB 3116 to prohibit public employers that participate in PERS from reemploying retired members for at least six months after their retirements. The bill addresses the issue of “double-dipping,” where some retirees reenter the public workforce and continue to receive retirement benefits at the same time they’re drawing salaries.
“PERS retirees shouldn’t be immediately eligible for new government jobs at the same time they’re collecting benefits,” Rep. Johnson said. “This bill prevents the most egregious examples of double dipping, but gives public employers the flexibility to hire bona fide retirees when it results in lower costs or improved services. It will also provide more opportunities for unemployed Oregonians looking for work.”