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Oregon business associations announce support for PERS reform, revenue package

Organizations applaud legislative leaders, urge for passage


For more information, contact:

Megan Doern (Alliance)
503-329-3153, mdoern@portlandalliance.com

Contact:  J.L. Wilson (AOI)
503-576-4874, jlwilson@aoi.org
     
Gina Williams (OBA)
503-641-0990, gina@oba-online.org

Jeremy Rogers (OBC)
503-595-7608, jrogers@orbusinesscouncil.org

July 1, 2013

Salem, Ore. -- Today, the state’s four major general business associations called for support of the package of bills approved last week by the Oregon Senate Revenue Committee that included reforms to Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and targeted revenue increases. The business groups are Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Association, Oregon Business Council and Portland Business Alliance.
 
“We applaud the efforts of the governor and the Legislature to develop this PERS reform and revenue package in a way that means significant long-term savings and greater fiscal stability for Oregon now and in the future,” the associations said.  “We have agreed to the revenue component, as it is currently reflected in the bill approved by the Senate Revenue Committee, so long as it is accompanied by significant PERS reform, which we define as reducing the state’s PERS liabilities by at least $5 billion and having the ability to sustain legal challenges. We believe the PERS bill accomplishes those goals.”
 
The proposed package supported by the business associations would make changes to the PERS, including limiting cost-of-living increases, designed to reduce the state’s liability by $5 billion, and raise revenues by approximately $200 million per biennium. The ongoing value of the package is equivalent to providing $400 million for schools every biennium, which could buy nine additional school days in every school district or 2,000 teacher jobs statewide. 
 
“While we did not begin this legislative session seeking a revenue increase, we agreed to support one as part of an overall PERS reform effort if the revenue increases were designed in a way that they would not impair our state’s economic recovery,” the groups said. “The bill before the Senate meets that criteria. We have consistently been open to discussing a variety of revenue options, so long as they meet that criteria and are part of an overall PERS reform plan.”

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The Portland Business Alliance is Greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce. With about 1,600 members, the Alliance strives to promote and foster an environment in the Portland region that attracts, supports and retains private-sector jobs, spurs economic vitality and enables quality educational opportunities for the region's residents.