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City Club of Portland fosters PERS discussion

OSBA Executive Director Jim Green called on Oregon's government leaders Feb. 17 to tackle the issues of revenue reform and controlling spiraling costs from the Public Employees Retirement System.

"We need leadership in the Capitol," Green said, "and we need Oregonians to tell them it's OK to talk about taxes."

Green spoke at a City Club of Portland luncheon focusing on PERS. Other speakers were consultants John Tapogna and Tim Nesbitt.

Green cautioned that PERS reform discussions should avoid draconian measures that could lead to a wave of retirements.

"We want to make sure we are able to recruit and retain the best teachers," he said. "We have to be very thoughtful and considerate and deliberate about any changes we make to PERS."

Regardless of political parties, he said, the state's residents want to pay for basic services. The question of how is one OSBA aims to address through a new poll of state attitudes on public services and taxation.

"From Portland to Pendleton to Paisley, Oregonians want better schools for kids," Green said. "They want good care for seniors, and for sure they want better roads."

OSBA Executive Director Jim Green, flanked by moderator Betsy Hammond and consultant Tim Nesbitt, spoke Friday at the City Club of Portland on potential solutions for resolving mounting PERS bills. 
OSBA Executive Director Jim Green, flanked by moderator Betsy Hammond (left) and consultant Tim Nesbitt, spoke Feb. 17 at the City Club of Portland on potential solutions for resolving mounting PERS bills.
(Photo by Alex Pulaski, OSBA)