Wednesday, July 27, 2005

We are NOT a role model

Washington should not go the way of Oregon
It's often said that you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. True enough. But it's also possible to learn from other people's mistakes. That's the case with Oregon.

While most public employee pensions pay out about 60 percent of a worker's final salary after 30 years on the job, Oregon school employees who retired from 2000 to 2004 got pensions averaging 107 percent of their salaries. They are entitled to collect that amount, with cost of living adjustments, for the rest of their lives.

Bringing Oregon's benefits into line with the national average would free up an additional $500 million a year for Oregon's school children. But school employee unions oppose any efforts to reduce benefits.

But... but... I really though that the unions were looking out for the kids? I'm so dissilusioned.

This article is all about the debacle of out-of-control pensions/benefits for public employees. There is no question that public "servants" are better compensated than their private counterparts, although here is a post from a blogger with a slightly different point of view.

But our state's largest Fishwrapper, who always sides with government has done studies showing that public employees average pay is higher than the average pay of your average Joe. And their more recent study shows that PERS pays out 55% higher than the national average which is eating up our schools money faster than we can throw it at them.

Now the state of Oregon is the prime example of how NOT to handle public employee benefits. For too long the unions and employees with working job titles like Social Marketing Coordinator, Bilingual Customer Service Representative, Bicycle & Pedestrian Facility Specialist, Benefit Consultant - Bilingual Spanish, and Assistant To The Northwest Oregon Area Director have been in charge of things in Salem. The union asks, the legistlature giveth. At some point it has to stop.

6 comments:

Diesel said...

Ahh Daniel, thanks for the mention. Hopefully you do note that I do not disagree with the idea that PERS is a busted institution that needed an overhaul.

And hopefully, you can see what I mean by this whole fiasco creating an anti-teacher political climate that will have an adverse affect on education in Oregon. I see this whole fiasco as having bigger implications than just a strain on our pocketbooks (yeah, I pay taxes too). :)

Daniel said...

I definitely see a difference between what you wrote and the Union party line. I hope that you don't think that I am against teachers.

But I don't think that public employee benefits have been brought in line with private sector compensation, this includes retirement, health insurance, leave, severance, etc.

It seems that not a week goes by that some outrageous salary, severance package, PERS debacle, disability fraud, etc gets reported on.

Everyone should realize that these wastes would continue if they weren't brought to light. Government simply doesn't care how they spend our money.

jwalker said...

It is such a hard thing to be a conservative minded teacher. If we say what we really think in the workplace, you can be sure to have a bunch of enemies. I agree with Don. It is busted and I will probably be getting great retirement checks when I retire.

I also agree with Don that this issue puts a really bad light over the teachers and we don't really have all that much to say about it.

gus miller said...

In the Portland Public School District there are rumblings among younger teachers who are not senior enough to qualify for Tier 1 PERS.

They feel their wages and benefits are being held down so the district can pay escalating cost increases to fund the Tier 1 Pers liability.

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