Published: April 30, 2015

Today the Oregon Supreme Court reaffirmed that the state must fulfill its contractual pension promises made to front-line workers and retirees. In Moro vs the State of Oregon, the Court put to rest the notion that the state may back out of its contracts. Firefighters, teachers, nurses, public safety officers and thousands of other front-line public workers in Oregon can rest easier now, knowing the majority of their retirement is secure.

“We’re talking about the people who educate our children, care for the elderly and keep us safe—they didn’t deserve to have the rug pulled out from under them,” said plaintiff’s attorney, Greg Hartman. “We’re very pleased with this outcome.”

The decision rejects SB 822 and SB 861, deeming the two bills—designed to cut previously agreed upon cost-of-living adjustments for retirees—as mostly unconstitutional.

“The state made a good-faith deal with these employees, who devoted so much of their working lives to serving their communities,” said Hartman. “Today the Supreme Court let them know that they can count on a secure retirement, and will be able to afford groceries, medical bills, car repairs, and other day-to-day living expenses which rise with inflation.”

With today’s decision, the issue of overhauling PERS should now be put to rest in the legislature.

“Today’s decision is a victory for working families,” said Hartman. “Oregon continues to carry the lowest corporate tax burden in the nation. The state needs to find a way to honor its contracts, so that means it’s time to have a meaningful conversation about real economic solutions that will help protect all vital services and build a better Oregon.”