PERS benefits better than neighboring states

PERS benefits better than neighboring states

Oregon public employees get better retirement benefits and contribute much less toward them than in neighboring states, a new PSU study found.

The study has not been finalized, but the executive summary is circulating in Salem and its conclusions could add fuel to the ongoing legislative debate over the Public Employee Retirement System. Budget shortfalls are forcing lawmakers to consider new ways to rein in rapidly increasing pension costs. Gov. John Kitzhaber has proposed three pension reforms, and legislators have introduced a host of bills to tackle the problem.

Comparisons of the public employee benefits are notoriously difficult to make given the many flavors of retirement formulas, contribution policies and rules governing the treatment of unused sick leave, vacation time and overtime in benefit calculations. The PSU study attempted to hold most of the equation constant to get a reasonable basis of comparison.