OSCC Initiative Petitions and Oregon PERS Task Force

September 18, 2017 10:37 AM | Deleted user

Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

There are a variety items we want to bring to your attention. Initiative Petitions are in full swing as the deadline for gathering signatures is October 5th for the November 2018 Ballot. Additionally, the Governor's PERS Task Force is running and up to full speed.

Initiative Petitions

The Business Coalition has launched two proactive Initiatives, which will both be filed late Thursday or early Friday.

The first Initiative is to slow state spending growth and to pay off the state's PERS debt. See the press release from the Keeping Our Promises Coalition.

The second Initiative clarifies the state Constitution on tax and fee increases in order to address the three-fifths requirement on revenue raising legislation. See the press release from A Tax is a Tax Committee.

Oregon PERS Task Force

The Oregon PERS Task Force is now in full swing. Governor Brown has directed the panel to come up with $5 billion in funds to pay down part of Oregon's $24.5 billion in unfunded liability. The task force IS NOT charged with reducing the cost of PERS.

The Governor asked the PERS Task Force to generate ideas first, and determine their feasibility and political viability second. The group will meet again on October 13th before submitting a report to Gov. Brown on November 1st. The recommendations of the group will likely produce legislation for the 2018 session that could have widespread consequences.

Please find a list of concepts that we compiled below:

  • Maximize marketing, sale and distribution of liquor, excise taxes on beer and wine. The task force discussed a 50-cent bottle surcharge on liquor but were less specific with regard to beer and wine.
  • OHSU $1 Billion in unrestricted funds: The task force has suggested looking into using these reserve funds and acting as backstop for OHSU if needed.
  • Rolling back limitations on city taxing authority with the requirement that a portion of additional revenues go to the state for UAL (marijuana tax, cigarette tax, etc.)
  • Tax on foreclosed properties: Counties currently use foreclosure tax funds to reimburse themselves for the cost of sale and any additional funds are disbursed to all taxing entities. The task force is considering repurposing foreclosure surpluses.
  • Restructuring the way that SAIF is managed. Ideas have been thrown out about using a portion of the dividend investment portfolio and using future dividends for Oregon's UAL. The task force acknowledged the harm this would cause employers.
  • Selling or leasing state lands, unclaimed property and other property: $100 million-500 million.
  • Increasing estate taxes: $10 million-50 million.
  • Shifting more fire suppression costs to forest land owners: $10 million-50 million per year.
  • Assigning capital gains tax above projections to PERS fund: $100 million-500 million per year during economic growth periods.
  • Taking interest earned on state funds from each fund and putting it in common pool: $50 million-100 million.
  • Increase games and introduce mobile phone games to the state Lottery: $100 million-$1 billion over 10 years.

Below are several links if you would like to learn more about the task force and its members:

Task Force panel member bios

Recent article on the task force from the Bend Bulletin with partial list of concepts

Don Blair explaining where Governor Brown's PERS Task Force is currently in its process

Please let us know should you have any questions or need more information.

Best regards,

Alison Hart

Executive Director




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