PERS proposal thrown into education investment debate
Monday, April 22, 2019
The Joint Committee on Student Success is moving quickly, as concepts are progressing toward legislation that will be up for votes in the coming weeks.
The committee heard testimony last week on House Bill 3427, which has now become the legislative vehicle for both the revenue portion of the package and the investments in education. The proposed funding package would include a corporate activity tax on businesses, coupled with reductions in the personal income tax.
Cost containment reemerged as part of the discussion when Gov. Kate Brown announced a proposal to meet the unfunded Public Employees Retirement System liability for school districts. The plan brings together several elements, including diverting portions of the personal income tax kicker, transferring of funds from SAIF and general fund/lottery dollars, using excess capital gains and estate taxes, and requiring employee contributions for actively working PERS members (3% for Tier 1 and 2 employees, 1.5% for Tier 3 employees). The Oregonian / OregonLive covered the plan in some detail.
The Oregon Education Association strongly opposed the proposal, and Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek have indicated the Legislature is crafting its own PERS proposal.