Others Say - Real power comes from good actions
Aug 23, 2013
For all its accomplishments, the 2013 Oregon Legislature fell short on two fronts. It failed to make real reforms to the state’s Public Employees Retirement System, hurting schools and local governments across the state. And it did little to ease taxes on small businesses.
The Legislature adjourned July 8, and since then Gov. John Kitzhaber has worked with lawmakers to try again. So far he’s been unsuccessful, and now there’s talk that Republicans, at least, may be better off politically with failure than with reform.
We’d hate to see anyone, Republican, Democrat or member of the Pacific Green party, use the issues to make political hay in the next election.
They are simply too important for all Oregonians.
Like it or not, the state’s public pension fund is in a world of hurt and that, in turn, hurts nearly every government body, from rural fire protection districts to school districts to the state itself. The fund lost money during the recent recession, and government agencies now must make that money up.
Statewide, the unfunded liability runs into the billions of dollars.
Linked directly to that is what money is available not only for teachers but also for firemen, policemen, social workers and roads. If government agencies must put more of their money into PERS, they cannot spend to provide the other services Oregonians agree they need.
Finally, there’s small business. Small businesses provide well over half the jobs in this country, Oregon included, and they’ve been particularly hurt by the recession. According to the Oregon Labor Market Information System, Oregon lost more than 5 percent of its small businesses from 2007 through 2011. Republicans have pushed for tax breaks targeted at that group.
We can understand the temptation to politicians on all sides to balk at a Kitzhaber-generated grand bargain. Scoring wins is, after all, one of the things politicians do.
In this case, however, they need to recognize that real power can come from doing real good — from continuing to work to solve the problems that will continue to cast shadows on our future until they’re solved.
— The Bulletin
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