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PERS Board set to approve 2017-19 rate increases

The Board of the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) is set to approve on Sept. 30 the long-awaited individual employer assessment rates for the 2017-19 biennium that begins next July 1.

Individual employer assessment rates were developed by Milliman, Inc., actuaries and are now posted on the PERS website as part of a packet of materials for the retirement fund’s Board.

“These rates are just the results of all the actuarial work that’s performed every cycle as we review methods and assumptions, assess actual experience, and then derive the rates based on policies like the rate collar,” said Steven Rodeman, PERS executive director, in a note to the Board included in the packet. The so-called rate collar limits the size of allowed rate increases or decreases in a single budget cycle.

Rodeman wrote that individual employer rate reports will be distributed in a couple of weeks after Milliman completes its final detail work.

School districts face a cumulative $335 million increase in costs next biennium, which by some estimates equates to hiring about 2,000 new teachers. Rate increases vary widely by district, with some school districts managing their own side accounts that help cushion the blow of state cost increases.

State agencies will see their PERS rates go up by $260 million, and other public employers face $290 million in rate increases. PERS faces $22 billion in unfunded liability in the pension system.

The new rates for school districts and other entities are posted in the final pages of the PERS Board packet.