In reply to "How much will PERS cost?" (The Daily Astorian, March 30): It was not only the stock market downturn in 2008 that affected the Public Employees Retirement System in Oregon. Frankly, the increase in payouts granted by the PERS board to PERS beneficiaries almost doubled in a 20 year span.
That largesse would not be acceptable with a watchdog Oregon committee to oversee the management of not only investments, but the payouts directly from those investments, and not on the private enterprise taxpayers in Oregon to make it up. To have a guarantee by the state of Oregon was reckless of PERS management. If you invest in stocks, you have risk involved. That should not be backed up by the taxpayers of Oregon.
But since neither prudence nor economics were in effect by the state of Oregon, it has burdened both local public bodies and the general free enterprise system in Oregon, further witnessed by the two tax measures on corporations in Oregon that recently passed because of heavy media advertising by public unions, etc.
How much will PERS cost? It has cost too much already. Do the math. That system is bound to fail when the PERS board and the PERS beneficiaries agreed to those contracts in the 1980s and the 1990s. Sen. Betsy Johnson told me they cannot be broken.
Where was the oversight by the Oregon legislature during those 20 years when PERS?benefits almost doubled in Oregon? Even with the latest reduction, I understand that rate is now 85 percent of salary after 30 years on a state PERS salary.
I can understand that Oregon state employees are the "good guys." But what of the PERS board and those big contracts in the 1980s and 1990s? That was wrong, unfair and needs further correction so taxpayers and private employers are not affected.
Either the legislature needs to have a watchdog committee, or select a committee from the private enterprise system, to oversee the PERS system so the PERS board can be accountable to the public and to themselves, and there won't be drastic shortfalls in the Oregon budget in the future.
By the way, Social Security benefits accrue for PERS beneficiaries, also.