BEND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown released her proposed budget, last week, with cuts to close the $1.7 billion budget hole. One of the drags on state coffers is the $22 billion shortfall involving the Public Employees Retirement System, known as PERS.
House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) says Senators Tim Knopp (R-Bend) and Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) are looking at options. "Tim Knopp is an expert. He's going to lead with Betsy Johnson on what can get done; there are clearly things that can get done and we need to do them, now. It's going to take political compromise by the Democrats to get there. Tim will be our leader in doing that; he's done that in the past and I'm confident he'll get it done." McLane tells KBND News, "Knopp has been quite astute at being able to build coalitions to get PERS reform done, in the past. He knows more about the system, he knows more about the details, than anyone I know."
Courts have struck down previous PERS reform efforts, ruling them unconstitutional. But some lawmakers believe they could succeed if they change the way pensions are calculated, as a way to save the state money.