Bankruptcy an option for Oregon?

Gentlemen, could the headline read: “Should Oregon seek bankruptcy protection to be relieved of PERS obligations?” A Register-Guard editorial in the Nov. 5 News-Review carefully outlined the projected $25 billion shortfall they felt was in the Public Employees Retirement System’s fund and suggested going to court.

I fully agree with the editorial. The governor’s task force to address this problem produced answers unacceptable to Oregon’s income taxpayers. With an Oregon population of 4 million, is that a $6,200 cost per citizen? If so and if only 50 percent of the citizens pay state taxes, that is a load of about $12,400 per Oregon’s estimated number of taxpayers.

I am one of those 96 percent of private-sector employees suggested by The Register-Guard letter that are not covered by a publicly guaranteed pension system. Bankruptcy was a start at solving the city of Detroit’s financial problems. According to a report on the web on Detroit’s bankruptcy: “The city of Detroit, Michigan, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. It is the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by debt, estimated at $18–20 billion, exceeding Jefferson County, Alabama’s $4 billion filing in 2011.” Read Wikipedia’s follow-up on the web for Detroit’s solution.

As The Register-Guard letter states, “PERS has become a financial crises for Oregon, starving schools and other public services of needed funds. It’s time for a response that equals the magnitude of the problem.”

Ray O. Sims


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