Thursday, October 6, 2016

Oregon pensions and Measure 97: 'I can no longer keep quiet' (Letters to the Editor)

[Excerpt below is Bob Tiernan's letter to the editor regarding Measure 97. Tiernan formerly served as a state legislator and Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party]:
Pensions and Measure 97: Reporter Ted Sickinger's article only scratches the surface of the "doomsday bomb" that has been ticking in Oregon for years. If you think our country's Social Security program is broken, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Oregon's broken pension system is bankrupting our state. Katy Durant, chair of the Oregon Investment Council, was correct when she was quoted as saying, "We should have been addressing this 20 years ago."

Well, Katy, it was addressed 20 years ago — in the 1993 and 1995 legislative sessions. And the Republicans tried to fix it. Unfortunately the misguided Democrats stopped the desperately needed reforms at the request of the public employee unions — their No. 1 financial supporter in getting reelected to office. In fact, the very politicians who led the fight to stop that reform effort in 1993 and 1995 are still in power today — Peter Courtney and Kate Brown — and are giving us the same excuses they did back then, when attempts were made to fix the pension system.

Kind of ironic, and also very sad.

Our pension debt will soon exceed our state budget. It is stealing money from Oregonians and needed services to overpay for bloated pensions and benefits for state employees.

Bob Tiernan
Lake Oswego

Tiernan was an Oregon state legislator in office from 1992 to 1996 and chief petitioner for Measure 8 in 1994, which dealt with pension reform.

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