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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 11, 2012 9:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Anniversary. The next post in this blog is Another Bat Signal goes up. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

More light shines on Oregon bureaucrat pensions

The O has wrested control of some more fascinating data on who gets what from Oregon's outrageous public employee pension system. You can browse the heftiest 800 or so eaters at the trough here, and the paper's smartest reporter, Ted Sickinger, writes up one aspect of the problems here.

Comments (19)

Oh joy, another chance for Kitz to wring his hands and do nothing. Except sign the bill throwing another $1.1B at employee benefits like last biennium.

It really makes you wonder what has to happen for people to take any kind of decive action besides borrowing more and spending it.

The court challenges to reform ended at the Oregon supreme court. There was really no reason to stop there. The substantive reforms that were thrown out by oregons courts may well have survived in the federal courts.

The Democrats just can't bear to actually do something about this issue even though it is costing the state billions. They just can't figure out how to get out of the box they created with their greed.

The rules were made in Salem and Salem can change the rules. The Oregon Supreme Court didn't like one approach but why give up? There could be other approaches taken to solve the issue.

The real problem is that the D's don't have any balls when it comes to saving money. They run away like little girls whenever the subject of saving money comes up. They love taxes though and spending on anything green or sustainable is very, very popular.

The whole crowd of D's in Salem are worthless wimps. Their legacy will be how they hide their heads in the sand while PERS ate their lunch.

Glad Jack notes the positive that The Zerogonian did here, for once.

This PERS debacle is killing Oregon, and politicians won't do anything because of the Public Sector Unions. Nothing will happen until more of this outrageous crap becomes more publicized and people get fed up. Once the wimpy politicos get lambasted by their constituents with public outrage, only then will they find a backbone to do something.

But by that time, there will be 40%+++ of the electorate either employed as or married to public sector union workers. And then it'll be too late, and the redistributionist agenda will be complete.

Won't it be interesting to see how what happens when the claims of state and municipal bondholders clash with those of PERS retirees in chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings?

Frank -

Federal courts???

Pipe dream from the know nothings.

No jurisdiction whatever to deal with PERS issues outside the context of a bankruptcy filing by the State of Oregon.

Harry brings up the real problem - not so much that it is 40% of the electorate working and/or benefiting from the public sector, but rather being the majority of voters who actually vote are the ones that control the outcome of any reform attempt.

Many of these articles leverage the envy expressed towards the recipients of pension benefits.

Where is the recap of who in the legislature or in the governor's chair when these agreements were made? Any still serving or influencing our representatives?

Where is the challenge to the legality of the agreements which were self-serving to the writers of the legislation?

Where is the outcry and drum-beating against recent recipients of cushy, well-paying jobs with inflated salaries in the years just prior to retirement?

None of the current recipients of this largess are going to complain about their out-sized benefits. They are simply getting what they were promised. And they plead ignorance about how these benefits accumulated.

In the end, there is only so much revenue that can be harvested from current taxpayers to pay these benefits after the reserve funds are exhausted. What's next, taxing their assets?

"In the end, there is only so much revenue that can be harvested from current taxpayers to pay these benefits after the reserve funds are exhausted. What's next, taxing their assets?"

The cost of PERS (like the cost of Portland's unfunded pensions) will eventually come out of property values - if you have to take a huge tax hit for living in Portland, you're not going to be willing to pay quite as much for that cute house in Ladd's Addition.

At least we changed the system in 2003 for new hires (thanks, Kulongowski!), so although we are plenty screwed, we aren't as screwed as places as California, New York, and Illinois, which still haven't reformed their blue-state pension systems.

"But by that time, there will be 40%+++ of the electorate either employed as or married to public sector union workers."

Not gonna happen - where is the money going to come from, as more and more government dollars goes to PERS? We're screwing over young people in Oregon who would like to teach here, as we ship off buckets-load of money to retirees.

I suspect that the next big fight over the next decade is going to be over outsourcing - at least a few jurisdictions in Oregon are going to figure out that if you outsource as much of your work as possible, you don't have to pay PERS contributions for the outsourced work. That alternative will get increasingly cheaper, relative to hiring new government employees.

Outsourcing... So true. Healthcare at $1100-1400/month, $13-16K per year for a bus driver or janitor? Outsourcing. But not as easy as you might think. Google janitor outsource PPS union lawsuit.

"But not as easy as you might think. Google janitor outsource PPS union lawsuit."

Oh, I don't think it is going to be easy at all - the government unions will fight it every step of the way. But when people get really tired of ever-higher taxes and ever-poorer governmental services, the unions will have less political clout than they do now.

Quote from beginning of that Oregonian article:

"Resch spent 16 years as a professor at Oregon State University's College of Forestry. When he departed in 1987 to take a job at the State University of New York, he left something important behind: his pension account."

I'd be interested to know if Mr. Bogdanski has an actual reason to refer to Resch as a "bureaucrat", or if the word is simply a conveniently coded term of abuse.

I'd also be interested to know exactly why leaving his pension contributions in Oregon PERS was evil.

And no, I am neither an Oregon state employee nor a bureaucrat.

The statesman journal has an article up about how Kulongoski makes $4800+ a month in 3 different gov pensions from his 25 years of "service".

The clown show of experts saying that they are helpless or only half helpless to fix the mess. Same plot.

238.600 System established; legislative intent.* * * * * * (2) If the Public Employees Retirement System is terminated, or if contributions may no longer be made to the system, each member of the system has a nonforfeitable right to the benefits that the member has accrued as of the date of the termination, or as of the date that contributions may no longer be made to the system, to the extent that those benefits are funded.

Terminate it now.

Demand return of proceeds of Pension Obligation Bonds that have not yet been transferred from employer accounts to beneficiary accounts.

Lawyer Robert Aldisert says fiddle with interest rates. That is about as reformist as a president saying (indirectly) that a bj by an intern is not sex. We can redefine the word reform, just like we can the word sex.

I may be wrong, but I believe that legislators and judges in Oregon are all beneficiaries of PERS. If so, it seems unrealistic to expect significant change from them.

"I may be wrong, but I believe that legislators and judges in Oregon are all beneficiaries of PERS. If so, it seems unrealistic to expect significant change from them."

Unfortunately, fixing that doesn't help. In California, the judges and elected officials are on their own separate pension system, specifically to avoid conflict of interest issues. Hasn't led to reform.

Holy bejeezus! That's a ton of retirement money. How do I get one of those jobs? Surely they are no longer doing this sort of thing.

"Detroit— Former City Treasurer Jeff Beasley was charged with taking bribes and kickbacks in a six-count indictment unsealed Tuesday following a long-running FBI investigation of the city's two pension funds."

Of course, that couldn't happen here in Oregon.

I hope the implosion comes after I'm gone.

Looking through about 14 pages, it was rare to find a payout that was less than 100% of salary when they retired. This is not sustainable!


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