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Wednesday, July 18, 2007
An End Has a Start
In the meantime, PERS seems hellbent on continuing its vendetta against retirees, all under the guise of "fairness to actives". If the retirees win, the actives will be forced to subsidize retirees. Nonsense. The Supreme Court answered the question quite clearly. If the fixed benefit is a new benefit created by the legislature, it cannot have any errors. No errors, nothing to collect, no subsidy by actives. The retiree benefits are paid from the BIF (Benefits in Force ) reserve. COLAS are normally funded by the BIF reserve. Benefits are funded by the BIF. In short, the money to cover retirees has already been collected from retiree accounts and from employer matches and sits in either the BIF or the BIF reserve. The BIF reserve is huge right now as a result of a stellar stock market for the past 4 years and continuing. There is no PERS crisis. The reforms permitted and permissible have been implemented; the stock market has soared and PERS is fully funded and sitting on top of more than $2 billion in reserves. The PERS crisis was over 2 years ago.
It is time for us to do our part to pressure the "heavy hitters" to start putting the screws to the PERS Board. The Governor is the heaviest of the heavy hitters. He appointed this board and he can influence its behavior. He may not be directly responsive, but letters pointing these facts out aimed at Representative Greg Macpherson (D, Lake Oswego), Senator Richard Devlin (D, Tualatin/Lake Oswego), Tim Nesbitt (Governor Kulongoski's Chief of Staff and former Oregon AFL-CIO President), and former State Senator Tony Corcoran all have strong influence with the Governor. Your own legislator may also be influential if he/she is from the same party as the Governor. If not, the influence may be limited. I am assembling all the needed email addresses and will place them in a link to the left later today. Now is the time to start exerting the pressure. We need to be respectful, but we don't need to be patsies any more. We won in the Supreme Court; we've won in Judge Kantor's court, and we stand before Judge Kantor real soon now to request even more. The PERS Coalition has placed compelling issues before Judge Kantor. They will be hard for him to ignore. It is time we begin to exert our own influence and remind those "heavy hitters" that they were put in those positions by the actions of "organized labor" and its subsidiaries. The reforms have worked; the crisis is over. Accept the gains and stop fighting about the losses. Give us what we are entitled to and shut down this expensive, draining, and foolish tilting at windmills. Otherwise, we are doomed to another 4 or 5 years of litigation. Pretty soon the courts will get tired of us, tired of PERS, and tired of this bickering over issues that were settled in 2005. Enough is enough already. Pay me what you owe me and I'll go away and live my retirement the way I had planned.
Update 1:30 PM. I have posted the list of those representatives and others who carry sway with the Governor in a pdf file accessible from the top link on the left. I am certain of the email addresses for all listed EXCEPT for Tim Nesbitt, whose email I'm still trying to verify. I'm pretty sure it is correct, however.