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PERS Changes Introduced in Legislature

As Oregonians brace for $1.4 billion in state budget cuts, on June 5, 2017, the Oregon State Legislature announced a new budget proposal that would make changes to Oregon’s Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) Individual Account Program (IAP) in an attempt to address PERS’ $22 billion unfunded liability and stabilize Oregon’s public retirement system.

ONA will not support any changes to PERS while Oregon remains 50th in the nation in corporate taxes.

We recognize legislators are likely to take action on PERS this session as part of a budget proposal to provide long-term budget stability for public employers and employees. ONA is willing to engage in these discussions with legislators in order to limit changes to public employees’ retirement if the Legislature brings forward a fair, comprehensive proposal as part of a real revenue reform plan which requires corporations to pay their fair share. Oregon won’t have long-term budget stability or be able to invest in better schools, increased access to healthcare, or improved services for Oregonians unless legislators ask corporations to do their part to protect and preserve the public services Oregonians’ rely on.

The proposal announced is a risk-sharing measure that would shift a percentage of employees’ contributions from the IAP to the pension fund. Currently, six percent of public employees’ salaries fund IAPs. Under the proposal, starting in 2018, 1 percent of employees’ IAP contribution would be redirected to the pension fund. In 2019, 2 percent of the IAP contributions would shift to the pension fund. Future percentages would be determined based on the PERS pension funding rate.

Without real revenue reform, 350,000 Oregonians will lose access to health care, school funding—including funding for school-based health centers—will be slashed, and vital nurse-led public health programs will be eliminated. We all have a stake in ensuring we continue providing adequate public services; but Oregon’s public employees’ refuse to fund critical services alone.

The only way to provide the health, education and social services Oregonians need is through comprehensive revenue reform that requires corporations to pay their fair share.

ONA will continue working with legislators and our partners organizations to ensure real revenue reform by emphasizing the role corporations must play to ensure a responsible state budget. If you have questions about revenue proposals or want to get more involved in these discussions, please contact We will keep you updated as these discussions continue.

In Unity,

Susan King, RN, MS, CEN, FAAN
ONA Executive Director

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Oregon Nurses Association
18765 SW Boones Ferry Rd. Suite 200, Tualatin, OR 97062
(503) 293-0011 or 800-634-3552 (Oregon Only)