Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Oregon's governor and legislative leaders met for three hours but have not reached a compromise on the state budget. In a joint statement, Gov. John Kitzhaber and top legislators from both parties said the discussion Monday was "productive and ongoing. They agreed to meet again this morning.

Democrats have majorities in the House and Senate, but they'll need Republican votes to get the new tax revenue they're seeking. In exchange, Republicans want steeper cuts to public-employee pensions, which Democrats have resisted. State representative Brad Witt of Clatskanie tells his consituents "The Governor remains concerned that the system is still vulnerable and he would like to see an end to the 6% "pickup" as a means of further relieving future liabilities.  PERS employees are required to contribute 6% of their earnings into their retirement accounts, but for at least the last 20 years, this amount has been "picked up" by the employer, many times in lieu of wage increases. To be fair, it has also saved public employers money because they have not had to pay payroll taxes on those dollars."

Democrats have majorities in the House and Senate, but they'll need Republican votes to get the new tax revenue they're seeking. In exchange, Republicans want steeper cuts to public-employee pensions, which Democrats have resisted.

Kitzhaber said last week that both sides are still far apart.

Lawmakers have until the end of the month to adopt a new spending plan for the next two years.

Kitzhaber said last week that both sides are still far apart.

Lawmakers have until the end of the month to adopt a new spending plan for the next two years.

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