The purpose of the Corporation is to inform the People of Oregon about matters of social and civic importance. The information provided is intended to identify fundamental issues that affect all Oregonians and to assist them in determining if they agree with the decisions that their representatives have made on the People's behalf.
CURRENT ISSUE - Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)
Today, the funding of PERS is the greatest strain on Oregon's ability to provide services to its citizens. That is because the legislature has made PERS funding the State's highest financial priority. Public employers must pay their PERS assessments before they pay anything else and if there is not enough money for everything, the very services that the public employers were created to provide must be cut back so that PERS can be fully paid. While some people may find this to be a strange or inappropriate priority, it is clearly one that is a legitimate political option. The problem with PERS is not that it is Oregon's highest spending priority. The problem is who made that spending priority decision.
Oregon has a population of approximately 3,800,000. The number of PERS members is around 311,000 and less than 100 of those PERS members, in the Legislative Assembly and on the Oregon Supreme Court have total and final control over the PERS decision making process. That is why PERS gets paid first.
PERS members did not always control the decision making process. See the pages of this site that discuss PERS for details on how the control over PERS shifted from all Oregonians to a very small group of PERS members.