Oregon State Chamber Legislative Update Feb 24, 2012

Oregon State Chamber Legislative Update Feb 24, 2012

Legislators Reach New Budget Agreement undefined Governor Approves

Budget writers reached a new agreement Thursday evening and the Governor has indicated he will support it. The new compromise avoids closing prisons but eliminates state agency middle management positions originally opposed by the Governor. Other cuts include a $13 million reduction to providers of in-home care to seniors and people with disabilities. Budget shortfalls were cushioned by a $56 million infusion of funds from Philip Morris and an $8.9 million settlement with Farmers’ Insurance. Additionally, a portion of the settlement with mortgage lenders will be retained to offset future shortfalls. The budget proposal must be approved by both the House and the Senate.

 

Legislators Prepare for Adjournment

The Oregon Senate will meet for a week-end Floor Session tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 9:30 a.m. in anticipation of wrapping up the 2012 Legislative Session next week. The Oregon House has recessed for the week-end and will return Monday. Earlier today on the Floor of the House, legislators remonstrated against failure to act on foreclosure relief and jobs bills. Some had anticipated that both the House and Senate would work through the week-end in an attempt to adjourn by the 26th. However, as of today, the original February 29 goal remains the most likely scenario.

 

OSCC Sponsors Chamber Day

The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Associated Oregon Industries, sponsored its 2012 Chamber Day as nearly 100 representatives of the business community met in

Salem earlier today. Attendees received in depth issue updates on timber, water, health care, education, and the budget. Effective legislative advocacy and a briefing on the upcoming election cycle were also hot topics.

 

Senate Republicans Introduce Solution to PERS Shortfall

Senate Republicans introduced a bill this week to save taxpayer dollars by curtailing spending for the Public Employee Retirement System. SB 1593 would lower the assumed interest rate used to calculate annuity benefits from 8% to 6%. This is not the 8% assumed earnings rate guaranteed to Tier One retirees on their account contributions during employment, but the rate that PERS uses to calculate payouts for all Tier One and Tier Two employees once they retire, based on a lifetime annuity. Annuities in the private market are typically calculated using a much lower percentage assumption. Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) stated that if passed, the bill will save taxpayers and local governments billions of dollars.

“This is a solution that brings government benefits in to closer alignment with private sector benefits and begins to address a problem that has seemed unassailable,” said Senator Chris Telfer (R-Bend). “The longer the legislature lets this problem go unaddressed, the more it costs taxpayers.”

 

Helpful Links

To view or print out the full text of bills introduced during the 2011 session, or for history and status of bills, go to http://www.leg.state.or.us/bills_laws/

For Committee schedules and agendas, go to Committee Agendas Online
Legislators’ Committee Assignments & Audio of Committee proceedings, and to access exhibits used in testimony, visit: Committee Web Pages

For contact information, including address, telephone number and email address for your legislators, go to http://www.leg.state.or.us/senate/senateset.htm for the Senate and http://www.leg.state.or.us/house/houseset.htm for the House of Representatives. If you are unsure of who your legislators are, go to http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/findset.htm. To listen to legislative proceedings over the Internet, go to http://www.leg.state.or.us/listn/listenset.htm

 

If you do not have access to the Internet, copies of bills and measure status may be obtained by calling 1-800-332-2313. You may also leave a message for your legislator at this toll free number.