Oregon Gov. Kate Brown was sworn in on Monday, and the state’s pension system was one of the topics touched on in her “State of the State” address.
Brown said she wants to look at ways to reduce the pension system’s investment costs, possibly by bringing more investment management in-house.
From Oregon Public Radio:
On the issue of pension reform, Brown said she is looking for creative ways to reduce costs and to ensure that employees don’t take advantage of the system.
“My office is working to identify what we can do now, such as bringing investment services in-house, to responsibly carry out our duty to retirees,” she said.
Meanwhile, Republicans in the state Senate and House have introduced bills to change pension benefit formulas and funding mechanisms.
They may not get far; but it signals that pension reform measures may again be a subject of debate in these chambers.
Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, and Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, teed up what could be the most contentious debate of the upcoming legislative session by introducing two bills to make money-saving changes to Oregon’s public employee retirement system.
“I’m confident we’re going to have hearings on PERS, and I think it will happen fairly early,” Knopp said. “We’re going to have to deal with these fundamental structural issues.”
Knopp said he was going to be requesting hearings from both Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, and Sen. Kathleen Taylor, a Democrat whose district stretches from Southeast Portland to Lake Oswego, who chairs the Senate Workforce Committee. Taylor could not be reached for comment.
The proposals in Senate Bills 559 and 560 include:
Redirecting employees’ required 6 percent retirement contributions to support the pension fund beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Capping a members’ final average salary used in the calculation of their benefits at $100,000.
Finally, the bills would change the calculation of final average salary so it is the average of five years of wages instead of three years.