If you wish to help support the ongoing costs of running this blog and you haven't purchased anything through Amazon on this site, please consider a small donation to defray basic costs. It isn't free to me to keep this site current. I have to pay for bandwidth, costs of duplicating documents when they exist only in paper form, and keep printer ink around to read lengthy documents, and the time to do the research. Thank you. Marc Feldesman, site owner and publisher.
Oregon PERS Information is Copyright Marc R. Feldesman (c) 2003 - 2018 All Rights Reserved. Posts may not be reprinted without prior consent.

Please don't post your comments more than once. I moderate all comments and a delay between posting and appearing is part of the drill here. I get to all comments in due time. Please don't continually repost the same comment. Only one will be posted. Thank you.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

What's New?

Nothing, bupkis, nada.  PERS continues to be the medias’ bogeyman, and the local government employers keep crying doom and gloom over rate increases proposed for the 2017 biennium.  But they’ve been doing this since the late 1990s, so nothing really has changed.  PERS hasn’t been a big issue in the run up to the November elections, and nothing evil made it to the ballot for November.  So, for most people not yet retired, the next shoe that MAY drop won’t be until the 2017 Legislature.  It is likely that Tim Knopp will reprise his “screw all the actives” bill, but the chances of it passing won’t be known until the elections in November are over and the dust has settled.  Assuming Gov Brown is re-elected, she has shown no appetite to tackle PERS again.  Without a lead by the Governor, the Legislature is just disorganized enough to keep from passing anything too damaging.  This is not a prediction; it is merely an observation based on years of watching the legislature - nothing affecting PERS will take place without active support of the Governor.

The small piece of good news was described in my last post, some time ago.  The 2016 COLA will drop on the next check (August 1, 2016).  For all retirees prior to mid-2013, the COLA will be 2%; while later retirees will receive somewhere between 1.96% and 1.24% depending on the contents of their COLA bank.  The explanation for the discrepancy can be found in the previous post.  (Note added 7/4:  the percentages apply only to those making $60,000 or less.  For those making more than $60K and retiring after mid 2013, the COLA diminishes from those numbers by the amount the benefit exceeds $60,000.  Sorry for any confusion, mrf).

I hope everyone has a safe and sane July 4th.  This site will continue to be mostly quiet until something more interesting than nothing starts happening.  That could be not much before mid-November, after the elections.  Of course, I still try to keep up with the news.  I have to confess that many of my usual sources have begun to retire themselves, or have left the legislative offices, or moved away.  One cannot report on PERS for 15 years without having source turnover.  I try to cultivate new sources, but I’m far removed from the scene of active employees and former students, and I don’t have as much time to just schmooze sources at PERS Board Meetings.  Life is just too busy.  Nevertheless, I still maintain a good network of people in positions to know if anything significant is coming along, so do not despair.  As long as my health holds out, I will keep plying these people for information.

Enjoy your summer.


JB said...

Marc, help me check my math please.

In paragraph two, you say that all retirees retiring after mid-2013 should receive a COLA between 1.96% and 1.24% depending on their COLA bank. I can see that this would be true for those at $60K or less, but if a retiree is receiving over $60K, couldn't the percentage be less than 1.24%?

Hypothetically, if a retiree was receiving a pre-COLA benefit of $100K and 93% of their service was pre-10/1/2013 I calculate a COLA of ~1.20% as follows:

93% x 100K x .0123 = 1,143.90
7% x (750+(40K*.0015)) = 56.70

1143.90 + 56.70 = 1200.60 = ~1.20% of 100K

Where am I making my mistake?

mrfearless47 said...

You are probably not. There is no possible way to compute the net COLA for someone making over $60K because all depends on the "how much" over $60K. If someone was making, say $197,000, as a few do, the percentage would be considerably lower. I will clarify in the original post.

mkw said...

When I check my Online Member Services Account Summary, I see that the 08/01/16 gross payment amount is listed as the same as the amount for 07/01/16. Is the August 1st payment not yet reflecting the COLA increase? I retired in mid 2013.

mrfearless47 said...

They don't update the payroll until the 20th of the month. Check back in about two weeks.

Unknown said...

"Assuming Gov Brown is re-elected . . . "

She was never elected governor.

mrfearless47 said...

Point taken. Nevertheless, she has no credible opposition.

ViceGrips said...

July 15th the Statesman Journal published an op-ed piece by Sen. Ted Ferrioli. After the supreme court struck down 2013 PERS reforms, Ferrioli questioned leg counsel on other potential "savings" that could pass constitutional muster. Among them was uncoupling the assumed rate from Tier-1 money match accounts for members not yet retired and replacing it with an unspecified market rate. Would you care to weigh in on that idea if it became law next session? Not a likely prospect, but a perfect electoral storm this November could provide renewed impetus for another round of PERS reform. Thanks, and PS: I love reading this blog. BD

mrfearless47 said...

If you lurk over at the PERS Discussion Group (see top link under LINKS), you'll see my post about this along with 25 other comments. I am planning a blog post on the entire matter of Ferrioli's proposal as well as the letter he sent to his constitutents. I'm nursing three stitches in my main typing thumb and am reduced to one finger typing. Hopefully a blog post this week will appear about the subject.

Unknown said...

Not sure how you can say a $885 Million dollar increase in pension costs is anything other than a big problem for agencies. It is interesting how the media ignores all the Dems who passed the illegal reforms they were told were illegal and then spent the phony savings from the reform. The Oregon legislature needs a major house cleaning.

mrfearless47 said...

I'm not saying that an $885 million increase in pension costs isn't a big deal. I'm saying that the agencies, especially the school districts, shouldn't have spent the money until they knew for certain that the changes were legal. I'm not exempting the Dems, but I'm not exonerating the R's either. While they didn't support the Dems' measure, they wanted more extensive cuts that would have been equally illegal. I don't disagree that the Leg needs a major housecleaning. All 90 members should be replaced in my opinion, but that isn't going to happen. Remember that while the Leg and former Governor deserve to be savaged for their act of stupidity in passing a clearly illegal bill, none of this would have happened in a context when the employers weren't trying every measure to not pay what they had promised from the beginning. Led by the Oregon School Boards Association, the employer groups were lobbying the legislature to do something, anything, to provide them from rate increases that were brought on by a group not responsible to anyone. Unions negotiate with school boards, not with the Legislature. School Boards agree to contracts whether there is money or not. They then go to the Legislature and expect it to bail out their irresponsibility. I'll be happy when the local school boards are responsible for raising the money for the local school boards. The effects of Measure 5, live long after it was ever a useful idea to begin with. You either have local control or you don't. If you have it, you also have to be responsible for the money through local taxes. Measure 5 removed both the carrot and the stick. Let the State General Fund pay the school costs, but let the local yokels negotiate with the local unions. Stupid then, stupid now. I don't feel a bit sorry for anyone in all of this, except the thousands of working members of PERS who are going to be screwed by whatever the next legislature tries to do.