Sometimes I feel as though PERS retirees are to the Legislature and Governor as gold teeth were to the Nazis in Germany (if this is offensive to some, I'm sorry. The metaphor seems entirely appropriate). We represent the gold teeth the Legislature, PERS, and the Governor get to pluck before we are sent off to our "just rewards". Yesterday, the PERS Board approved the reduction in the assumed rate used for Tier 1 rate guarantee, mortality tables, and for employer contribution rates. The new rate, effective 1/1/14 will be 7.75%. For most caught on the cusp, the difference between 8% and 7.75% is relatively minor. Longer term, however, the effect is significant. The mortality tables will be adjusted accordingly, but I haven't seen the new ones yet as the PERB is waiting on the Legislature to do its thing on Monday. Speaking of Monday, the sop for the poor seems to be a 0.25% one-time payment at PERS' discretion to make them feel like they really got a 1.5% COLA increase. Of course, it isn't the same. It is simply a one-time payment, not added to the salary base for compounding on future benefits. Those in the range between $20,000 and $60,000 *might* get one of these too, depending on finances. This is entirely at the discretion of the PERB. It also would be a non-compounding payment. The only good news in all of this is that the employers will have increased payments resulting from the lowering of the assumed rate. This will assure the continued employer whining, sniveling, and complaints come 2015, so we should never be complacent that the teeth pullers will ever be through.
Speaking of gold teeth, the amount of money spent on education just continues to amaze me. That malodorous group called Fix PERS Now and its financial sugar daddies, OSBA, COSA, Oregon Business Alliance, Chamber of Commerce and others, don't seem to be the least concerned about how much money is wasted on the administrative infrastructure in education. They don't seem to be even slightly concerned about the existence of 987 local school districts, superintendents, transportation systems, negotiators with teachers' unions. Worse still, they don't seem to be unsettled with the salaries of the people selected to replace one elective position valued at $72,000 per year, with two appointed people earning, respectively $180,000 (Robb Saxton, Head, Department of Education and Deputy Superintendent), $225,000 (Nancy Golden) [both sources from articles in the Oregonian]. That's a lot of gold teeth that no one crying for more money "for the children" seems to be disturbed by melting down.
Right now, my mouth hurts like hell, and after Monday the pain will get greater. And, like almost everything else in this state, the Dems will allow the rich to get richer off our gold teeth, while the libertarians at the Oregonian slaver for more.