The lead headline in The Bulletin Sept. 29, regarding PERS contribution rates to increase, is no surprise. The only word in the PERS board vocabulary is “more.” It has no regard for any financial stress its actions cause to the many areas of Oregon’s economic structure. When there is an epidemic of county and city bankruptcies, will it blame George Bush?
Our city is faced with an estimated $7.2 million pension contribution for the 2013-14 budget year. What cuts in other services will have to be made in order to meet this payment? It is obvious these cuts will impact the quality of life for all citizens, but the PERS board couldn’t care less.
I have a suggestion for Bend Mayor Jeff Eager. Refuse to make the payment. I’m sure there would be a storm of legal activity, but someone has to have the political courage to draw the line. Ronald Reagan said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” and the wall came down. Did that take courage? We need leaders with similar courage to “tear down” the burdens of unsustainable PERS benefits.
If Obama is re-elected, the stock market will crash again, then what will happen to pension funds? Will PERS blame that on George Bush? The PERS board will come crying to the taxpayers for more contributions. The well will soon run dry. The blame lies with the PERS board, and if it has any regard for the public at large it will address and correct the problem.