Gov. Kate Brown's new law requires state and local government workers to pay some of their retirement benefits.
The PERS retirement package was negotiated in the 1970s and 1980s. Money markets were paying something like 17% interest. PERS retirees were drawing an 8% increase in retirement pay each year, but now interest rates and inflation have dropped.
Military and Social Security retirees receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment based upon the inflation rate of a select group of items. For the years 2015 and 2016, military and Social Security retirees did not receive any cost-of-living adjustment. In fact, our take-home pay was reduced due to increases in Part B Medicare payments. PERS retirees got their normal adjustments.
In 1957 we were told that if we served for 20 years we would be provided medical care for the rest of our lives. Now in Roseburg, a veteran who receives care from the Roseburg VA Medical center cannot afford to get sick on the weekend. If he or she goes to Mercy without prior approval from the VA, the veteran is responsible for any costs.
Those on flying status in the Air Force were told we would continue to receive our flight pay so long as we could pass our annual flight physical and flew a minimum of 4 hours each month. I didn't trust this, so I banked my flight pay. In 1977 I lost my flight pay as my primary duties did not involve flying. At times it is necessary for promises to be broken. If PERS retirees really care about others, specifically our students, they they must tighten their belt too. We just can't keep on spending money that we don't have.
Leonard Riley III