Oregon treasurer urged lawmakers to pass a bill addressing a potential budget shortfall created by a recent Supreme Court decision.
BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
Oregon Treasurer Ted Wheeler urged lawmakers Thursday to pass a bill addressing a potential budget shortfall created by a recent Supreme Court decision on the pension funds of Oregon public workers.
From the Portland Business Journal:
“I think (John Tapogna of EcoNorthwest) got it right when he described this as a generational problem,” Wheeler said of the pension ruling. “I agree that this is a significant challenge. But you wouldn’t know it if you only listened to Salem. Leaders of both parties seem very reluctant to acknowledge the significance of this court ruling, particularly if (state) investment returns don’t hold up.”
Wheeler said he had “yet to hear any common sense suggestions” for addressing what could be a $1 billion budget gap as soon as 2017-19 as a result of the pension ruling and the loss of federal Medicaid dollars. He urged lawmakers to give a hearing to his Investment Modernization Act, which he said would improve the management of the state’s roughly $70 billion state pension fund for public workers, known as PERS. A paper issued by Wheeler’s office estimates it could generate $2.8 billion in savings for PERS over 20 years.
The bill would expand the autonomy of the treasury department. According to the PBJ, Senate President Peter Courtney prefers to maintain strong congressional oversight.