Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Isn't that special

Word out of Salem is that our two local Republican legislators want to end lawmakers' participation in the state retirement system known as PERS.

Well, not for current lawmakers, like themselves, of course. Only future legislators.

Yes, Tim Knopp and Jason Conger are taking that "bold" step in pushing something that won't affect them.

In theory, the idea is that Oregon legislators currently lack impartiality when deciding how to cut retirement benefits so that the state won't go bankrupt.

Freed from such shackles, these lawmakers could then solve the state's retirement elephant that sits on a pile of expanding cash.

No one, currently, is stopping Knopp or Conger from proposing legislation to actually deal with the problem.

Yet, there is a conflict of interest when judges, who also benefit from the state's retirement system, rule against reform because it will affect them personally.

In the past, Oregon courts have ruled against severe cuts to the retirement system because the contracts were made between two parties, legislators and public employees, and just one side cannot dissolve those deals unilaterally.

Naturally, Republicans refuse to compromise with any unions in the state.

It would help if legislators and judges were not part of the retirement system.

It would also help if there were a cap on benefits so that an ex-football coach like Mike Bellotti, who collects more than $41,000 per month in retirement benefits, would get a little less air in his golden parachute.

Almost 850 citizens get more than $100,000 per year. Here's a top 10 list from 2011.The lowest on the list makes about $20,000 per month.

The annual maximum should be $60,000, or $5,000 per month, but adjustable to the rate of inflation if it increases or decreases.

Of course, saying that the rich should pay more than those with far less usually gets the Republicans' panties in a wad.

No, the GOP would have all those making the $2,400 mean monthly allowance take the hit.

For Republicans, it's always about protecting those who donate the most to their political campaigns.

Can't touch them.

And with that goes any reform.

If Knopp or Conger were serious about PERS reform, they would craft a bill to immediately end the participation of current legislators and judges in the system.

Then again, that would actually take some balls.

1 comment:

  1. Appears that both sides feel the need for PERS reform. Be sure to tell Kitzhaber what you think. CALPERS is a complete train wreck compared to the state of Oregon but we'll be getting a haircut in Oregon for sure. You can blame it on the FED's ZIRP more than anything.

    This is just the beginning. Retirement accounts of all types will get looted. If you think your IRA or 401K is safe, you're gonna be a little bummed.