Morning Roundup

PERS reform proposed, teachers union revives form of Measure 97 and Oregon hospitals reluctantly support tax increase.

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PERS cost-cutting proposal unveiled

A new bill introduced this morning introduces risk sharing, in which public employees would help pay for their pensions, the Statesman Journal reports. Up to 4% of the 6% contributed into each Individual Account Program would be diverted into a risk sharing account. 

As uncertainty continues to swirl around PERS, the number of pre-retirement planning sessions are up 30% from last year. About 75,000 public employees are eligible for retirement (34% of all public employees). Lawmakers are hoping to avoid a mass-retirement event. 

Teachers union proposes its own corporate tax

While the Legislature continues to negotiate a tax on corporations, the Oregon Education Association is preparing two ballot measures to fund schools, the Portland Business Journal reports. One of the measures is similar to Measure 97 and would tax businesses with more than $5 million in Oregon sales. The second measure would give the Legislature the ability to raise taxes with a simple majority vote if education funding fell below the Quality Education Model threshold.

Oregon Association of Hospitals supports tax increase, reluctantly

The tax increase will close a deficit in the Medicaid budget. The Association says it was asked to step up and support HB 2391, which would raise $934 million for the Oregon Health Authority, the Portland Business Journal reports. The group says it reluctantly supports the tax although the levy will impact hospital operations.

Boardman mega-dairy fight may not be over

A coalition has filed a petition with the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Department of Environmental Quality to reconsider its permitting of the Lost Valley Farm mega-dairy, Capital Press reports. The dairy received its operation permit March 31 after months of contentious back and forth between the community and regulators. The dairy is currently up and running. 

OB Original Blog: State ups ante on safeguarding workers from toxic chemicals

Workers are poised to receive better protection against exposure to two toxic substances, as an agency prepares to move on a long-awaited plan to change outdated standards that fail to shield employees from carcinogens known to cause serious illnesses and even death.

OB Original Blog: Next year in the Dalles 

Breweries, museums and a renovated theater aim to revitalize downtown.

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