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.