Letter To The Editor, Oregonian, 6/18/2017
by Austin Folnagy, Klamath Falls
As a millennial and as a public employee in the state of Oregon, I have to say that the Oregonian/OregonLive editorial about PERS was deeply troubling. (“PERS cost-sharing proposal more window-dressing than reform,” June 10). After large PERS cuts in 1995 and 2003, younger public employees like me receive less compensation than you probably think. But the proposals you are applauding disproportionately impact us.
The legislation introduced by Senator Tim Knopp, which you appear to support would amount to a 30 or 40 percent cut to retirement compensation over the course of a career. Many young people today are losing hope of even the concept of retirement in their later years. These proposals to cut PERS, one of the very few pension plans available to workers, will continue to bankrupt the retirement dreams of our youth and could turn bright, young people away from a career in public service.
Public employees’ compensation – including PERS and healthcare – is about 98 percent of what a comparable employee would make in the private sector. You’re not going to find a better deal than that. Our compensation is not the problem. The problem is our low corporate taxes. Corporations pay just 6 percent of state general-fund revenues in Oregon. Individuals and families pay the other 94 percent. Where’s the outrage at that imbalance?