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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ship of Fools

This will be very brief.  In a classic gut and stuff the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee will hear a bill that will further reduce the retiree COLA, and will savage certain inactive members who retire under Money Match.  I don't have time to describe these bills as I am literally on my way out the door.  But the short version is that if you want to avoid the impact of this bill, should it pass, you need to get out tomorrow for July 1.  From what I've seen the bill is actually worse than what has been discussed; it might not take effect until September 1, but another version has it taking effect August 1.  If you are not a gambler, get your tail in gear and get your papers in tomorrow by 5 pm.

 
More later.

10 comments:

mrfearless47 said...

Sorry, I didn't have time to note the bill number. It is SB 857.

Unknown said...

I sat through the hearing on SB 857 this afternoon. It has all the earmarks of a bill going through on the fast track. They are still trying to decide just how much they will reduce inactive members retiring under Money Match and if the changes will happen effective after August 1st or after September 1st. If you are among the 10,000 Tier 1 Inactives that are currently able to retire and you are counting on the full PERS retirement you were promised, I strongly urge you to get your papers turned in. If (read when) this law is signed, Inactive Tier 1 members stand to loose as much as 37% of their expected benefit just in the first year. For now it appears that nothing can save any PERS retiree from cuts to our COLAs. We might win that back in the courts -- maybe. SB 857 has the blessing of the Gov and Senate leadership. I don't see anything stopping it at this point.

peg

mrfearless47 said...

So, the message to people inactive and eligible to retire, is that if you don't get out by tomorrow, you risk 37% of your benefits just for the delay. I wish I could tell people that they could wait until August 1, but the amount of money at stake is so great that an additional month of gambling to see whether you get an additional month is foolish. GET OUT NOW! This bill seems to be teed up to launch before sine die next week, and if you let tomorrow go by without turning in your paperwork, you are risking 37% of your retirement benefit for the slim possibility that you might get a few bucks more a month, or the more certain likelihood that you will lose 37 cents on the dollar. As far as I am concerned, this is a no brainer. GET OUT IF YOU CAN AND ASAP.

janedoe said...

Does the bill include further cuts to COLAS beyond 822?
Does the bill include anything else besides COLA and money match inactives (as if that were not enough)?
So clever of them to gut and stuff this in at the last minute.

mrfearless47 said...

@jane. Yes, more COLA cuts to anyone earning more than $60K. It isn't clear what the cuts are for less than $60K. And the other three amendments all relate to inactives and have to do with the timing of the rate decrease and also how the rate decrease is determined.

Unknown said...

@janedoe Yes the bill proposes further COLA cuts. The 2013 COLA will be left with the damage done in the earlier SB 822. But in 2014 this bill would limit everyone getting less than $60,000 a year to 1.25 % COLA. For those getting over $60,000 they get $900 plus o.15% increase for that portion of their benefit over $60,000. There is more to the bill and this amendment. You can find and read all of it on the OLIS web site (legislative site). BTW PERS (Paul Cleary) likes this plan better as it has only 2 levels instead of the 4 level system in SB 822 so it is 'easier for PERS.'
peg

janedoe said...

but this is an outrage! they are cutting benefits even for the very low income earners.
plus I am confused because it looks like those who earn over 60k get a higher percentage cola?

i just read that the unions protested loudly today (good for them) and the bill did not "go to committee" whatever that means. so what is likely to happen now with this disgusting bill?

mrfearless47 said...

@jane. Shhhhh. The error is indicative of just how sloppily the bill was thrown together. For the sake of making a point, I hope no one points it out and it totally screws up the calculations of savings. I don't really know what The bill not going to committee means. If I were burped sing the bill is heading straight to the senate floor where its passage is all but guaranteed ( see my post later today). This bill is on a high speed timeline.

treehugger1 said...

Hello, I am currently a board member of AOF, (Association of Oregon Faculty) representing faculty members of the Oregon University System. AOF has invested thousands of dollars in PAC monies for electing legislators and thousands of dollars working to see that ORP members of the Oregon University System who are inactive PERS members are given considerations of exemptions to the proposed amendments. My views here are only opinions. I am not speaking for AOF from here on.

It appears that the current alliances between the governor and both parties of the legislature could care less about the damages to very innocent parties. This current proposed finance bill will leave room for little supporting arguments to protect "inactive" PERS members. I say little room because I doubt many of the current inactive PERS members monetarily support a legal entity to help protect them. I know, sad, but true.

It is unknown whether the amendment pertaining to inactives can even draw enough litigants and findings to support the cost of a legal response in such a short time. You have to ask yourself how many of the affected inactive members are part of the PERS coalition. Are such members willing to support the cost of a Supreme Court challenge? I guess the next few weeks will answer this question.

Considering the fact that there are potentially far more damaging future PERS legislative concepts, support for inactive PERS members may be close to nil. For OUS faculty members who opted out of PERS in exchange for
the ORP, they might be the sacrificial lambs. This is troubling given the fact that these nine month employees willl remain clueless of the possible significant reductions to their future retirement benefits. Unless they read the papers or watch the news, such PERS inactive ORP members could be in for an unpleasant surprise.

treehugger1 said...

Hello, I am currently a board member of AOF, (Association of Oregon Faculty) representing faculty members of the Oregon University System. AOF has invested thousands of dollars in PAC monies for electing legislators and thousands of dollars working to see that ORP members of the Oregon University System who are inactive PERS members are given considerations of exemptions to the proposed amendments. My views here are only opinions. I am not speaking for AOF from here on.

It appears that the current alliances between the governor and both parties of the legislature could care less about the damages to very innocent parties. This current proposed finance bill will leave room for little supporting arguments to protect "inactive" PERS members. I say little room because I doubt many of the current inactive PERS members monetarily support a legal entity to help protect them. I know, sad, but true.

It is unknown whether the amendment pertaining to inactives can even draw enough litigants and findings to support the cost of a legal response in such a short time. You have to ask yourself how many of the affected inactive members are part of the PERS coalition. Are such members willing to support the cost of a Supreme Court challenge? I guess the next few weeks will answer this question.

Considering the fact that there are potentially far more damaging future PERS legislative concepts, support for inactive PERS members may be close to nil. For OUS faculty members who opted out of PERS in exchange for
the ORP, they might be the sacrificial lambs. This is troubling given the fact that these nine month employees willl remain clueless of the possible significant reductions to their future retirement benefits. Unless they read the papers or watch the news, such PERS inactive ORP members could be in for an unpleasant surprise.

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