PERS Update

Special Report: PERS in the Legislature

An Update on 2017 Legislature for PERS Retirees

May 1, 2017

Again, OPRI wants to take this opportunity to remind PERS retirees that any “PERS reform” legislation considered by the 2017 Oregon legislature will not affect the benefits of current retirees.

As of today, only two PERS bills are still alive in the Oregon legislature – Senate Bill 559 and Senate Bill 560.

Senate Bill 559 changes the calculation of final average salary to use five years of salary instead of three years.

Senate Bill 560 caps final average salary at $100,000 for PERS members whose salaries exceed $100,000. The bill also redirects employee contributions from the ‘Individual Account Program’ to an account to be used to pay for the employee’s pension benefits.

As of this writing, the legislature has not made a serious or concerted effort to pass either of these bills. Both bills are in the Ways & Means budget committee. Neither bill has the votes to pass. There does not appear to be a high level of urgency to pass either bill.

In addition to SB 559 and SB 560, Governor Kate Brown has recommended that a task force of state government financial experts be convened to study the issue through the remainder of 2017. She has also suggested selling off or borrowing against state assets to pay down the PERS $22 billion unfunded liability by $5 billion. These ideas have not come to fuition, however.

Please stay tuned to this page for current updates. We will let you know as soon as there are any status changes.