Last week, Governor Kate Brown broke a promise made to Oregon’s first responders, educators and other public employees who are counting on PERS for our retirement.
Time and time again, she has promised she will work to solve the state’s pension obligation without cutting salaries or retirement benefits for the public workforce. But now she has put forth a plan that is so unworkable it has quickly drawn opposition from labor, businesses, local governments and lawmakers.
Under her proposal, the retirement benefits for all public employees would be, in essence, taxed to pay the state’s obligation to people already retired. Those funds would go only to school districts, leaving fire houses, cities and counties on their own.
This new tax on retirement benefits would have both short and long-term effects on public safety. Thirty local firefighters are currently eligible to retire, leaving a vacuum of experience when they do.